Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fans Help Desailly to Take over as Skipper

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fans Help Desailly to Take over as Skipper

Article excerpt

Byline: ADRIAN CURTIS

Leyton Orient 0 Chelsea 2

CHELSEA today confirmed they have appointed Marcel Desailly as their captain for next season.

Desailly,who skippered the side in the friendly win at Orient last night, replaces Dennis Wise,who left to join Leicester last month in a [pound]2.5million deal.

In a survey of fans Chelsea carried out before coach Claudio Ranieri made his choice,Desailly was the overwhelming favourite to succeed Wise and,at the time,the Frenchman said: "That really made me feel happy,it is probably because they think of me as the France captain.

"They probably believe I have enough charisma to do it,why not,but it maybe would be better if the captain was English."

To help Desailly overcome any problems,Chelsea have also decided that he will be assisted by two club captains -Gianfranco Zola and Graeme Le Saux.

Midfielder Frank Lampard, meanwhile, admitted he was short of match fitness after making his debut in an unconvincing win over Third Division side Leyton Orient.

Goals from Mario Stanic and Jesper Gronkjaer clinched victory at the Matchroom Stadium but they were not enough to conceal Chelsea's rusty performance.

Lampard, who made an [pound]11m move to Chelsea from West Ham in June, only played the first 45 minutes and struggled to make an impact.

Playing in midfield alongside Yugoslav Slavisa Jokanovic, the 23-year-old had only one effort of note on the Orient goal but his 25-yard shot flew too high.

However, Lampard insisted he would be ready when Chelsea play their opening Premiership fixture against Newcastle at Stamford Bridge on 19 August.

Lampard said: "It was exciting wearing a blue shirt for the first time. It has been a long wait to get a run out.

"I have only had two-and-a-half weeks of training and, having missed the end of last season through injury, it is a case of playing games to get fit. …

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