Blues come calling for Lampard

New York City midfielder Frank Lampard is deciding on his next move after leaving the Major League Soccer club, with a position at former club Chelsea in the offing. After a slow start, the Englishman scored 15 goals in 31 appearances.
New York City midfielder Frank Lampard is deciding on his next move after leaving the Major League Soccer club, with a position at former club Chelsea in the offing. After a slow start, the Englishman scored 15 goals in 31 appearances.PHOTO: REUTERS

Chelsea to offer former talisman a backroom post after midfielder calls time on his Big Apple stint

NEW YORK • Chelsea will offer Frank Lampard a role back at Stamford Bridge, if the former England midfielder decides his playing days are over after announcing his intention to leave New York City FC at the end of his contract next month.

Lampard took to social media on Monday to confirm his time at the Major League Soccer (MLS) club had come to an end after 15 goals in 31 games, with confirmation of his next move to follow "very soon".

The 38-year-old, who won 106 England caps, is to decide whether to move into punditry or coaching, but will field interest from Chelsea whichever path he chooses to take.

The English Premier League club will offer their record scorer either an ambassadorial role or a position on the coaching staff, depending on his ambitions, as they seek to retain close links with their most successful generation of players.

There is a desire within the club not to see Lampard, Didier Drogba, John Terry, Ashley Cole or even Petr Cech - who departed for Arsenal last year - working for a rival club in the future.

They have already integrated former Blues Carlo Cudicini, Jody Morris, Eddie Newton, Paulo Ferreira, Jon Harley and Tore Andre Flo into their senior and youth level staff.

Lampard cut ties with Chelsea in 2014 after 13 years which yielded 211 goals from 648 appearances, three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, a Champions League and a Europa League.

Having agreed to join the newly formed New York City, he spent six months on loan at their parent club Manchester City.

Yet he retains talismanic status in south-west London, with Chelsea's supporters still regularly chanting his name at games.

"As my time at New York City comes to an end, I would like to thank so many people for the kindness and support that they have shown me over the last two years," said Lampard on the MLS club's website.

"My team-mates have been a pleasure to play alongside. The amazing fans have given me incredible support and backing. I have very much enjoyed my time, and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to play for such a great club and in such an incredible city."

Lampard is probably not the only former England international walking towards MLS' exit door.

Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard, who joined from Liverpool in July last year, posted a photo of himself above the Los Angeles skyline to his Instagram account on Sunday with the caption, "I will miss you LA".

Like Lampard, Gerrard, 36, will be out of his contract at the end of the year. There had been speculation in recent weeks that the former Liverpool skipper could be mulling a possible coaching role at Anfield - or even take a playing role at Celtic under former Reds coach Brendan Rodgers.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2016, with the headline 'Blues come calling for Lampard'. Print Edition | Subscribe