Frank Lampard hasn’t got as many minutes as he would have liked during the pre-season due to an Achilles problem but the international break provides a welcome chance for the midfielder to get some minutes on the pitch ahead of Chelsea’s season opener against Hull on Sunday.
The 35-year-old is back to fitness and featured during the Blues’ final friendly of the summer, the 2-1 win against Roma in Washington at the weekend. Lampard came on in the second half and fired home an equaliser before helping his side make it six wins out of seven over the pre-season.
Lampard says his injury issue is behind him and he’s ready to face the Tigers at Stamford Bridge on Sunday:
“There is no pain with the injury any more. I am feeling good. I like to think I am a pretty fit bloke and will be ready for Hull.
“I have trained the first week of pre-season and now the last week too, and I have trained hard. I’ve looked after myself in between, so if the manager wants me, I am there and I am ready.”
He doesn’t expect to play a major role at Wembley when the Three Lions take on Scotland but hopes to play a role and earn his 98th cap for his country:
“I would love to take part at some point and what a great game it is. I know people have moaned about when the game is, and that is understandable, but when you’re playing against Scotland, what a fantastic game for us to play.
“It won’t be a friendly, though. There will be that extra competitive edge, which is always nice. Rather than playing a side who have players you don’t know too much about, there is a rivalry between us and the fans will love it too.
“I think it will be a good exercise – individually for fitness and collectively considering we have some important qualifiers coming up.”
Hopefully he will feature as every minute helps him get closer to match sharpness but it will be interesting to see how Jose Mourinho uses Lampard this season. I’ve seen many people argue that perhaps the veteran will take more of a back seat and be used sparingly, like a ‘squad player’, which may be true to an extent but I still see him featuring regularly for the team even if it’s from the bench.
He was rotated last season when Rafael Benitez was in charge and due to the sheer amount of games we play he had 50 appearances and fitness has never been his issue as he looks after himself well, but I see Mourinho perhaps saving him for the bigger occasions and maybe even use him from the bench when we’re chasing a game or need another goal to secure a result.
Last season Lampard scored 17 goals for the West London club and became our all-time highest goal scorer with 203 in all but hasn’t set himself any targets for his 13th season at the club and says he just wants to contribute in any way he can.
“I love to contribute but I won’t be putting a number on how many goals I think I’ll get.
“Things have changed in the last couple of years but if I can still manage to chip in and be part of a successful team, I will be happy.”
England take on Scotland at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday evening (8PM kick-off) then we get proper football back with the Premier League at the weekend…it cannot come quickly enough.
Source: Sky Sports