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Derby County captain lost for season, 2 players charged with drunk driving

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Derby County has lost its captain to a knee injury and two players to arrest after drunk driving led to a car accident on Tuesday.

Richard Keogh is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, while Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett have been charged by police after a two-car accident ended with one vehicle smashing into a pole.

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Keogh, Lawrence, and Bennett were among a small group of players to continue drinking after a team-building exercise that evening.

Given the dangers of drunk driving, Derby County is thankful that the damage isn’t much worse. From an official club statement:

We have been very clear about our attitude towards alcohol and the players know that at certain and specific times of the season they are permitted a drink together as a group in a controlled environment.

Those involved in Tuesday’s incident know they will pay a heavy price for their actions, but also that we will support them with their rehabilitation back into the squad and team.

Neither Bennett nor Lawrence were injured, and both will face a court date on Oct. 15.

Derby County sits 18th in the 24-team Championship, seven points off a playoff place after eight of 46 match days.

Rooney lambasts MLS over domestic salaries

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It is quite clear Wayne Rooney is leaving Major League Soccer in December to head back to England.

Before he leaves for a player-coach role at Derby County, he’s hellbent on having his say. He is keen to air some grievances.

Like a free-spirited floor manager who is working out his notice before moving on, Rooney has once again taken a shot at MLS. This time he has hit out over salaries domestic players in the U.S. and Canada receive.

In an interview with ESPN, Rooney, 33, doubled down after his recent criticism of travel issues regarding charter flights not being available for all away trips.

“I feel that American players get underpaid,” Rooney said. “I feel they deserve to get more money to stay in line with football in the rest of the world and in terms of the American sports. I’m not saying it to benefit me, I obviously won’t be in the league next season. I think it’s only fair to those players who are putting in the same work as all have to earn the right to earn more money for doing it.”

Has Rooney got a point? He has, but it is a complex area to delve in to.

With more money set aside in recent seasons for Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), it is easier for MLS franchises to spend more money on overseas additions, and they often do that rather than use it on domestic players.

If you are a non-Designated Player in MLS, the maximum salary you can earn is $10,192-a-week. Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and others clearly don’t have to worry about their salary as DPs, but it is commendable that they are lending their voices to the cause. Rooney could just sit their and take his DP salary, but he’s not. So, he’s obviously seen something that needs to be addressed.

Do MLS players deserve to be paid higher? Of course. But it is still a growing league and is far away from the average salary in Europe’s top leagues. The average wage in MLS is around $7,000 per week, while in the Premier League it is around $70,000 per week.

With MLS expanding to new markets and attracting new interest from all over the globe, you’d expect the players who helped make the league what it is, the veteran U.S. and Canadian players, to be rewarded for their loyalty. But in the current system, it doesn’t work like that.

Why is Rooney speaking out now? The current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) runs out on Jan. 31, 2020 and there is talk of a strike unless more charter flights and freedom of movement between MLS teams is granted.

Given his profile, having Rooney lead the charge makes sense. Expect to hear a lot more about the MLS’ upcoming CBA talks with the MLS Players Association (MLSPA).

Derby owner: ‘Frank and Chelsea need to have time’

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Derby County owner Mel Morris says the club has begun the search for a new manager under the assumption that Chelsea will reach an arrangement with current boss Frank Lampard, who it has excused from preseason training camp.

The Chelsea legend was instantly linked with the club opening when Maurizio Sarri left Stamford Bridge to begin life at Juventus.

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Morris told TalkSport.com that he figured Lampard’s time at Chelsea would be a short one, just not a single year.

“As we’ve said before, when Frank and I first met we discussed this very eventuality, the only difference is the timing of this,” Morris said. “My belief at this point in time is that Frank and Chelsea need to have the time to finalise the transaction between them.”

Morris has been frustrated with Chelsea’s hiring process, though he’s a little calmer now as the situation has become clearer.

“You could say they’ve had plenty of time, but in fairness Frank was away on vacation – and a well-deserved one after a pretty tough season – and he didn’t come back until Friday, so I think that has been a big factor.”

Chelsea’s love for Lampard and its understanding regarding the club’s transfer ban will give it an extra level of patience for the young manager, but the club’s usual lack of patience with management is notable.

Lampard will not have Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi on long-term injuries, and Eden Hazard has left the club. Christian Pulisic returns from loan while Mateo Kovacic‘s loan was made permanent.

Derby County confirms Chelsea approach for Frank Lampard

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Derby County has confirmed that Chelsea has been given permission to speak with Frank Lampard about their open managerial position.

The club did not elaborate on specifics of the potential transaction, but according to reports, Chelsea would likely have to pay Derby County around $5 million to buy out Lampard’s current contract.

:With pre-season fast approaching for both clubs it is hoped this will allow Chelsea to swiftly conclude their discussions,” Derby County wrote in their short official statement. “The club will make no further comment until it is appropriate to do so.”

Lampard has just one season of managerial experience under his belt, leading Derby County to the Championship playoff final before falling to Aston Villa and narrowly missing out on promotion.

As a player, Lampard spent 13 seasons at Stamford Bridge, arriving from West Ham in 2001 and remaining through 2013 before his departure to Manchester City. Lampard racked up 423 appearances for the Blues, scoring 147 goals and leading the club to three Premier League titles plus the 2012 Champions League title.

The 41-year-old is looking close to replacing Maurizio Sarri who officially departed just days ago to return to his home country and take charge of Juventus. Sarri spent just one season at Chelsea and led them to a third place finish in the Premier League table plus the Europa League title which they won over fellow Premier League side Arsenal.

Lampard will face plenty of challenges out of the gates should he take the position. Chelsea will be facing a transfer ban this summer after the decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a hard truth that will hamper his ability to boost the squad before his first season in charge. Lampard will also need to sort out the Chelsea midfield, which Sarri leaves in somewhat disarray after having moved N’Golo Kante from his defensive midfield position and instilled Jorginho in that spot to mixed results last season. Finally, Chelsea needs to sort out its striker position, with Gonzalo Higuain struggling mightily since joining in January, and while Olivier Giroud looked prolific in Europa League play, he is still staring down his 33rd birthday and has not been able to gain a stranglehold over the starting spot in league play.

Report: Derby has Chelsea asking price for Lampard

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The BBC claims that Chelsea is yet to contact Derby County regarding the managerial services of Frank Lampard.

But that doesn’t mean the Rams don’t have an asking price for the Blues legend.

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Chelsea would need to pay Derby around $5 million to hire Lampard as the replacement for Maurizio Sarri.

That shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as Juventus is reportedly going to pay more than $1 million more than that to bring Sarri back to Italy.

This is the second-straight summer of managerial transfer fees for Chelsea after the Blues eventually worked out compensation that brought midfielder Jorginho and manager Sarri from Naples to London.

Is Lampard ready for the big time? He had a fine first season at Derby County, but that pales in comparison to working for Roman Abramovich during a season without transfer buys. We wonder if Abramovich will remember the financial handcuffs the first time Chelsea hits a rough patch.