Frank Lampard will be reunited with Jose Mourinho this summer, and is looking forward to training and playing under the Portuguese in a busy pre-season.
It is little surprise that Lampard, who once played 164 consecutive Premier League games for Chelsea, considers the right preparation ahead of a new season as vital.
Having worked under Mourinho between 2004 and 2007, the midfielder was delighted to see his former manager return to the club, having extended his own contract by a year towards the end of last season.
‘He’s a great manager, I’ve said it a million times to the point of boring people, but I’m very fortunate to have worked under him before,’ Lampard says.
‘He took my game on a million miles. A lot of the reasons I moved on in the game are because of him.
‘He creates a spirit in his squads that you can see from the outside is very, very strong. He’s a top class manager, we all know that.’
When they meet again at Cobham, Lampard will be expecting a tough month of work, but it is one he thrives on rather than baulks at.
‘I love pre-season,’ the England international smiles. ‘I love training, getting yourself fit again having had a month off. It’s nice to see different parts of the world on tour and it’s nice to get your focus back having had a month off.
‘The work you put into pre-season doesn’t mean you will be at your best instantly when the Premier League starts, but what you are doing is building a base for the season,’ he continues. ‘It’s a very important time for any player. You try to get the sharpness back as quickly as you can.
‘Different managers have benefited me more, so if I don’t get what I need I try and do it myself. I have to do my own stuff, and if I don’t it’s hard to start the season sharp.
‘It’s probably easy for the smaller, skilful players to pick it up again, but when you have a bigger frame you really have to do your own bits to get that last 10 per cent.’
This summer, we will be travelling both east to Asia and west to America, with our Here to Stay, Here to Play tour of Asia taking in Bangkok (July 17), Kuala Lumpur (July 21) and Jakarta (July 25). For Lampard, it will mean playing once more in front of huge Chelsea support.
‘I’m very much looking forward to it. It’s good for us to have two weeks together away and meet an area of the world where we have great support,’ he said. ‘We went out there two years ago and we all look forward to going.
‘The support now, I guess we expect it because we see it every time we go, but it is still getting stronger year on year. It goes alongside the club having success on the pitch but also working very hard to promote itself around the world.
‘We’re very thankful to the fans who turn up at the hotel, at training, at games, and these trips are about giving a bit back to them.’
With his time at Chelsea extended and Mourinho returning, Lampard will be hoping to end it as he ended the season just gone – in Brazil with England. His aim is on playing in a third World Cup.
‘It is a big year,’ he admits. ‘I would love to stay involved with England until the World Cup. I need to be playing regularly and well to do that, and we have a big squad.
‘Now I’ve signed the extra year though it’s up to me to come back in pre-season and onwards and show I can do that. Then we’ll see what happens with England but if I am playing well I like to think I will have a chance.’
There will be few more desperate to impress than our record goalscorer when we get back into match action next month.
– Click on the following links for ticket news for our pre-season matches in Bangkok on 17 July, Kuala Lumpur on 21 July and Jakarta on 25 July.
– Click for ticket information about the International Champions Cup in America.