Frank Lampard has the potential to transform Major League Soccer. Now he's not as good as what Claudio Reyna has labelled him, "one of the greatest players over the last 15 years," but his influence on New York City FC will still be massive.
Lampard is now 36 years old, but the fact that he was included in the England World Cup squad for Brazil certainly suggests that his quality is still there. Lampard was a regular starter during Chelsea's title challenge last season, although his goal tally did drop significantly from 17 to 8 in all competitions.
MLS way off EPL
However, a move to MLS means a move down a level. MLS is improving as every season goes by, but the gap between the quality of the EPL and MLS is still huge. And Lampard will feel the benefit of that during his first season in MLS next year.
The former England international started his career off with West Ham, and there he gained an excellent reputation as a young player with plenty of talent. It took him two seasons to get his first league goal, but once he got on the score sheet he showed he had an eye for goals in an extremely attacking side headed by manager Harry Redknapp.
Then came his huge move onto bigger and better things when Chelsea came calling. He made the move to Stamford Bridge in 2001. And that year has quite a lot of significance to this and Lampard's story, because 2001 was the year in which he was caught mocking US tourists in the wake of 9/11.
That's at least what several reports have claimed this week as Lampard signed to play in the very city in which the attacks took place.
Naturally this rehashed news had to surface this week just as Lampard put pen to paper on a deal which sees him become New York City FC's second designated player for when they make their MLS debut in March 2015.
Lampard is accused of acting drunk and disorderly in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in an airport where US passengers had been delayed going back to the US because of the atrocities in New York.
Pretty terrible stuff, but Lampard has claimed that he was a "naive young boy to be out on that day." Now he was 23, not that young really let's be honest. But although what he did was certainly careless, it's not like he verbally insulted anybody.
This is why it's very likely that Lampard will be given the benefit of the doubt by New York fans when he actually settles in and starts putting in top performances.
Goal scoring machine
Lampard certainly grew up in a Chelsea shirt post 2001 anyway. From the 2003/04 EPL season, the midfielder managed to score 15 or more goals a season for nine campaigns out of ten. Pretty excellent stuff for a midfielder in the EPL.
This is why he could transform MLS. The league hasn't really seen a midfielder that can score at will before. Lampard is a trail blazer in this department over the last ten years, having scored the most goals out of any player in europe from the midfield.
Together with David Villa, Lampard I believe will fire New York City FC to glory over the course of his career in the US.
Now his visit to a 9/11 memorial will help repair some of the damage he has done, but his play on the field will be the thing that truly wins over New York sports fans.
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