Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has voiced his concerns about the future of young English players, believing that more should be done to help them break into first-team football.
The 37-year old left Chelsea in 2014 and spent some of last season on loan at Manchester City. He spent 13 years at Stamford Bridge.
He now faces a different challenge with New York City FC in the MLS, playing with and against players such as Kaka, David Villa and Andrea Pirlo, the last two of whom will be playing alongside Lampard.
However, Lampard has said that if he was 18 now, he wouldn’t be able to make it into the first team.
“The way the Premier League is it’s so competitive, it’s not easy for young boys to break through,” Lampard told BBC Sport.
“Those late teens early 20’s, you can lose a young player.”
Lampard made his senior debut at West Ham as a 17-year old and has gone on to make 885 club appearances so far in his career. But, he doubts that these opportunities exist in today’s game, which is something that he feels also hinders the national side:
“There are questions that need to be answered that may help young boys get the quality they need at a younger age because that is a huge part of your development.
“I think you can lose potentially top players.”
Chelsea stalwart Petr Cech also departed Stamford Bridge this summer, travelling acorss London after managing to win every trophy possible in his 11 year stay at the club.
With this in mind, Lampard was quick to reiterate the importance of Cech’s transfer:
“I think Arsenal signing Petr Cech is a big deal.
“I think it’s been a position that a lot of people at Arsenal, fans and friends have continuously bemoaned the fact that the keeper situation hasn’t been sorted out for quite a few years.
“So he will be huge for them, he might push Arsenal into the running. I think Arsenal weren’t a million miles away last year.
“Year in year out they are there or thereabouts and you have to think they will put a run together.”
Lampard will make his MLS debut on 12th July against Toronto. Along with Villa and Pirlo, the three have a total of 317 international caps, with 36-year old Pirlo managing 115 for Italy, including winning the World Cup in 2006. Villa did the same with Spain in 2010.
“David [Villa] and Andrea [Pirlo] are at the top of the list, I’m a lucky man to be in the same squad as them,” added Lampard, who made 106 England appearances himself.
“I’ve been watching all the games. I know every player and how they play. It will be a pleasure to play with them every day.”
Whilst many have criticised the MLS for allowing players a rich yet easy way out of football, Lampard has been quick to praise the country’s growing love of the sport, and relish’s the new challenge:
“It doesn’t feel like a retirement home.”
“There is a pressure here, it’s a huge city and in sport in America, people will give you credit if you work hard and they want success, that’s a pressure in itself.
“I think that view is probably a bit of an old adage. In England we do have a tendency to be negative about certain situations.
“I don’t expect an easy ride, I’m here to try and win and it’s going to be hard work.”