Lampard’s Blue state
Lampard was one of the first names on the team sheet in the Blues’ midfield for 13 years and departed these shores for Major League Soccer in 2015, joining the newly formed New York City, who he helped reach the Conference semi-finals in this year’s play-offs.
With his season in the US at an end, he has been reflecting on events in the unfolding Premier League title race and insists he always keeps an eye out for results back in England.
‘Of course, I really care about it. I want Chelsea to win the league, I’m a Chelsea man,’ said Lampard, although he did admit that another of his former clubs was his earlier pick as title favourites, before our recent form got his head and his heart to agree on our chances of glory in 2016/17.
‘I did an interview with Gary Lineker about a month ago and I said Man City would win it, but since then the dynamics have changed,’ he explained. ‘It’s a very close call, so I’m going to throw Chelsea and Arsenal in with Man City. Chelsea’s change of formation and the way we’ve been playing in recent games; if we carry on like that then we’re going to be contenders for sure. And I think it might be the year for Arsenal to have a go too.’
Lampard is one of several well-known players to have moved from Europe to the US in the latter stages of their career, with World Cup winners Andrea Pirlo and David Villa two of his team-mates at New York City, and fellow ex-Blues Didier Drogba, Ashley Cole and Joe Cole also all Stateside. Our former No8 is enjoying the challenge of helping grow the sport in America as one of those big names.
‘It’s great, particularly for me at this stage of my career. I was fortunate enough to have a really good career in England for a really long time – and in the best league in the world, the English Premier League. So to come here now has been a fantastic experience.
‘The game’s growing, you’re part of a bigger picture here. It’s not just about concentrating on yourself and your team, it’s also about concentrating on the growth of the game. That is a huge thing here with the MLS, so it’s nice to be part of that.
‘You have that responsibility to spread the word and, without sounding corny, working with the community, going to the inner-cities and trying to push the game on, because it is down the pecking order here, there’s no mistake, but at the same time it is the fastest growing sport.’