Frank Lampard┬áhas declared himself fit for both club and country after ending┬áChelsea’s US tour on a high.
The midfielder has been battling an Achilles tendon problem that had restricted him to only two 45-minute run-outs this summer. But after coming off the bench to score a typical equaliser in the┬á2-1 win over Roma, while adding some verve and quality to a performance from┬áJos├® Mourinho’s side that had been seriously lacking, Lampard believes he is ready to start the new season against Hull on 18 August as well as contribute for┬áEngland┬áagainst┬áScotland┬áon Wednesday.
“There is no pain with the injury any more. I am feeling good,” the 35-year-old said. “Sometimes in pre-season your shooting and timing can be a bit off, so I was pleased with the way it went in. I have worked on it in training for the past couple of weeks, so it was nice for it to come off. I like to think I am a pretty fit bloke and will be ready for Hull.
“I have trained the first week of pre-season and now the last week too, and I have trained hard. I’ve looked after myself in between, so if the manager wants me, I am there and I am ready.”
Lampard is set to play a limited role at Wembley but is eager to be involved. Whether he is able to heed┬áthe England manager Roy Hodgson’s request to Chelsea players not to speak to Wayne Rooney about career moves┬áwhile Mourinho continues to try to prise the striker away from Old Trafford remains to be seen.
“I am looking forward to joining up with England and I would love to take part at some point,” Lampard said. “And what a great game it is. I know people have moaned about when the game is, and that is understandable, but when you’re playing against Scotland, what a fantastic game for us to play.
“It won’t be a friendly, though. There will be that extra competitive edge, which is always nice. Rather than playing a side who have players you don’t know too much about, there is a rivalry between us and the fans will love it too. I think it will be a good exercise ÔÇô individually for fitness and collectively considering we have some important qualifiers coming up.”
On Rooney, Lampard said with a smile: “Yeah, he is a friend of mine, so I will always chat with him.”
There certainly wasn’t much to shout about in the first 45 minutes as Chelsea put in their worst display of their four-match US tour before Lampard transformed the match in Washington DC with the quality and poise their midfield had been lacking.
An awful piece of control from a red-faced Mark Schwarzer had allowed Eric Lemela to give Roma a first-half lead. But a 61st-minute run and finish from Lampard allowed Chelsea back into it before Eden Hazard, who also looked sharp, set up Romelu Lukaku for the winner. Lampard added: “The game had been a little bit slow but pre-season games can be like that. We freshened it up at half-time with some fresh legs ÔÇô myself, Oscar and Ramires ÔÇô so we could try and get in behind them a little bit more.
“I just tried to get on the ball as much as possible, which is what I need in terms of my personal fitness.
“There would have been no point just trotting around midfield, playing easy balls and not extending myself. I wanted to get in the box, have some shots and keep moving quickly. I am feeling good. I find it hard to put a percentage on it but what I do know is that I have trained hard all week and I am close.
“I love to contribute but I won’t be putting a number on how many goals I think I’ll get. Things have changed in the last couple of years but if I can still manage to chip in and be part of a successful team I will be happy.”