Exclusive interview: Frank Lampard
This week, we caught up with Chelsea legend Frank Lampard to find out what he likes most about playing for Chelsea, who he had posters of as a kid and how often he practices those deadly penalties and free kicks!
What was the best advice you were given as a young footballer?
The best piece of advice I received was to always work hard at your game, but in particular on your weaknesses.
Did you ever have moments when you thought you weren’t going to make it as a professional?
Yes, there were lots of times when I thought I wasn’t going to make it in my younger years. Throughout my teenage years, I had ups and downs and went through good patches and bad patches with my game and, when you are young there are many occasions where you have a fear that you won’t make it. But you have to keep working hard, even through those patches, to succeed.
Who is the toughest midfield opponent you have come up against?
Take your pick out of Xavi and Iniesta of Barcelona.As a boy, did you have any posters of footballers who you idolised?Paul Gascoigne was my big idol, especially in 1990, during the World Cup. So I can remember that I had a poster of Gazza back then.
What games influenced your love of football the most?
FA Cup final day was always a big day for me, growing up. Games like that, as well as England matches, feel special when you’re younger. I remember David Platt’s goal against Belgium in the World Cup in 1990 really well – that sticks in my mind still.
I remember watching Diego Maradona play around that time as well and he influenced me just by making me think about the different level he was on. The goals he scored against England in 1986 – both the hand ball and the dribble – stick in my head because those are memorable games at the top level of football.
How often do you practise free kicks and penalties?
Two or three times a week, a few of us stay behind after training to do extra practice on penalties and free kicks.
Who is the most naturally talented team-mate you have played and trained alongside?
In terms of being technically gifted, I would have to name two. At Chelsea, it was Gianfranco Zola and with England, it has been Wayne Rooney. I would say both for similar reasons – because of their touch and awareness, which is at a level that is God-given because you can’t really teach that. They stood out, for ability, even at the highest level.
What is the best thing about playing at Stamford Bridge?
The atmosphere that is created on big occasions, particularly during the evening games. I have been at this club a long time and when you feel affection for the club in the way that I do, it makes those nights feel very special.
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