When it was announced way back on July 24 2014 that Frank Lampard had agreed a two-year deal with New York City FC few fans of the MLS' newest franchise could have expected they'd still be waiting for the English midfielder to make his début for the club.
But, almost 12 months on, that is the situation that has arisen. So, with Lampard finally having trained with the NYCFC squad over the past two weeks, his expected first appearance this weekend against Toronto FC was drawing huge interest.
Unfortunately their wait has just been prolonged after news that the veteran has sustained an injury in training this week that rules him out of Sunday's action.
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According to Lampard himself, it is a calf strain that is to blame:
"“I’m hugely disappointed to be missing out on Sunday’s game, which I have been really looking forward to," the former Chelsea man explained via NYCFC's official website.
"I’ve been feeling great in training and have loved working with the squad. Unfortunately I sustained a small strain to my calf during a session.”
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What with Lampard's belated arrival and the recent confirmation that Italian star Andrea Pirlo would be joining the franchise the mood around New York City FC has been a positive one.
The news, then, that the Englishman won't be taking to the field quite as soon as expected will come as something of a blow - especially to those fans who had purchased tickets to the Toronto FC game is expectation of seeing their latest star turn.
Although keen to finally get the latest chapter of his career under way after a number of false dawns, Lampard admitted today that his long-term fitness took priority over his desire to play this weekend:
"As I say, it’s personally very disappointing for me but these things happen in football. The good news is that I should be back in full training next week.
While I was desperate to play a role on Sunday, I have to take the advice of our medical team to let it heal and not risk further injury so I can get back on the pitch and play a full role as soon as possible.”
New York City FC, after a difficult start to life in Major League Soccer, have started to hit a bit of form in the weeks leading to Frank Lampard's arrival stateside. Having tasted victory in just one game in 13 to kick off the season, NYCFC have won four out of their last five league games.
If they can add a healthy Frank Lampard and the experience Andrea Pirlo, as well as other new arrivals Iraola and Angelino, the franchise will be hoping to continue rising up the table.
Still, after such a long wait, the injury to Frank Lampard only prolongs a lingering frustration that their marquee signing has still not yet pulled on the jersey at Yankee Stadium.