Former West Ham United star turned Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has fired a warning to Mason Mount over Declan Rice.
Mount and Rice grew up playing for the same Chelsea youth side together.
Rice was released by the Blues at 14 and came to West Ham where he has developed into one of the brightest young stars in the Premier League.
Meanwhile after a loan spell under Lampard at Derby, Mount has established himself as part of Chelsea’s first team.
Chelsea want to reunite Mount and Rice – reports
Speculation has been rife that Lampard wants to reunite the best friends at Stamford Bridge this summer (Sky Sports).
West Ham have ruled out selling Rice (Claret & Hugh). But remaining in the Premier League will be key to their hopes of keeping the midfield enforcer.
Before that, though, the duo look set to come face-to-face on opposing teams in Wednesday night’s crunch match at the London Stadium.
It is all to play for with West Ham battling against relegation and Chelsea needing the points for Champions League qualification.
David Moyes may move Rice back into midfield tonight with Angelo Ogbonna likely to return after injury.
Lampard fires warning to Mount over Hammers star Rice
But ahead of the match Lampard has fired a warning to Mount to put his friendship with Rice to one side (Sky Sports).
The Blues boss believes Rice has the mentality to do just that but has reminded Mount he must do the same.
“I think it spurs you on more if you have a personal relationship with an opponent either way – whether you are best friends or you don’t even like each other,” Lampard told Sky Sports.
“I also think the result of that is not concrete either – you will either have your best of games in that sort of circumstance but you can also become overly focused on that relationship and have a not so good game.
‘Text him tonight, smile in the tunnel then beat him’
“They are two very good players. But there is only one thing I will ask of Mason – and from my point of view that is obviously all I care about going into this one.
“He texts him tonight, he smiles at him in the tunnel or whatever it is, but if and when they go up against each other he has try to beat him in every individual battle that he possibly can.
“And sensing Declan Rice’s character, I am sensing they will both be like-minded on that one. We will see.”