Chelsea midfield legend Frank Lampard worked out for the first time with his new Major League Soccer teammates on Wednesday, the long-awaited training session with New York City FC rated a success.
The 37-year-old England star, with 106 caps in a 16-year international career, is expected to make his debut for the Manchester City-backed US club on July 12 at Yankee Stadium against Toronto. But his latest workout was about getting to know his NYC teammates, who have four wins and five draws from 17 matches for the third-worst record in the 20-team MLS.
"Obviously he has had a fantastic career so far, but he's just another guy out there," midfielder Tommy McNamara said of Lampard on the MLS website. "It's great to see that, great to see he knows everyone's name already and how he interacts like one of the guys."
Lampard signed his MLS deal in January but was kept on at Manchester City and so only arrives in New York at mid-season. So it was groundbreaking if understated as he underwent fitness drills, passing routines and a half-field, full-lineup exercise. "It's amazing. We've been waiting and waiting," defender Shay Facey said.
"Everyone has been really excited and today he is here. I'm sure a lot of the guys after training will be talking to him and getting as much out of him as they can. I'm sure he will help everyone else here. Everyone is looking forward to it." Another of Lampard's new team-mate, former Barcelona and Spain star David Villa, later posted an Instagram photograph of the two together.
Second-year man McNamara meanwhile will use Lampard as a role model. "I think there's a lot to be learned just from watching him and playing with him, seeing what he does in certain situations, how he carries himself, how he takes care of himself off the field," McNamara said.