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Chelsea’s links to Lampard no surprise to Keogh but Derby skipper remains optimistic

15:33 BST 04/06/2019
Frank Lampard Derby
The Rams defender is aware of the speculation suggesting that a Blues legend could be heading back to west London, but sees no deal being close

Talk of Frank Lampard potentially heading back to Chelsea comes as no surprise to Richard Keogh, but the Derby captain claims to have seen nothing to suggest that a deal is imminent.

A Blues icon spent 13 years of his playing career at Stamford Bridge.

He will forever be held in high regard in west London and has been mooted as an obvious contender to return to familiar territory amid the uncertainty surrounding Maurizio Sarri’s future.

Goal has revealed that an Italian coach who has spent just one season with Chelsea is eager to return to his homeland at Serie A champions Juventus.

If a move is made, then Lampard could be targeted after a solitary campaign in management.

Keogh is aware of the speculation and has been impressed by what he has seen by the former England international as a coach.

The Republic of Ireland international told reporters: “I can't speak highly enough of the gaffer and working with him in his first season.

“He's going to have a fantastic career as a manager for sure.

“I think naturally with the speculation that's going on regarding Sarri, the gaffer is going to get mentioned because of the legendary status he's got at that football club and obviously he's doing such a good job with us.”

Keogh sees no guarantee of Lampard leaving Pride Park, with there still much for him to achieve with Derby.

They reached the Championship play-off final in 2018-19, only to suffer a 2-1 defeat against Aston Villa and miss out on a return to the Premier League.

“As far as I know he's looking forward to next season as much as I am and it would be a shame to see him leave,” Keogh added.

“But in this industry, when you're doing a good job and you're Frank Lampard, then you're going to get linked with jobs. Hopefully he stays. I've really enjoyed working with him and he's really improved the football club and me as a player.”

Whether Lampard remains in his current role or not, Keogh believes Derby will build on the foundations that he has helped to maintain – with the club having secured seven successive top 10 finishes.

The 32-year-old added: “I think whenever you suffer a bit of heartbreak it does makes you more determined to achieve your goal the next season.

“I think the group we created and what the manager was creating at Derby was something special so hopefully we can regroup, get some quality additions in and attack it because the last five or six years we've always been challenging near the top of the league.

“So we've just got to make sure we keep our standards high and give it another opportunity.”