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Aug 19, 2012

Di Matteo plans Lampard talks

Chelsea boss Roberto di Matteo has revealed he hopes to discuss a new contract with veteran midfielder Frank Lampard in the near future.

• Live Transfer Blog: On the Move

Lampard, 34, was seemingly on the way out of the club with Andre Villas-Boas in charge 12 months ago. But after playing a key role in the club's run to Champions League and FA Cup success last season Di Matteo is eager for him to extend a deal which runs out next summer.

The player himself has no desire to leave Stamford Bridge and has openly spoken of his wish to put pen to paper.

Di Matteo said: "These are talks between the club and the player. I've been very happy with Frank and he shows his qualities that he has in every game that he plays, so a very influential player within the group as well.

"I don't think I'll be answering this question all the time. I think that's between the player and the club to sort out and when that's going to be, when the time is going to be.

"He's in good shape, he's not suffered any major injuries and he looks after himself. We've seen that many players who live a professional life can go on and play up to their late 30s.

"I don't think we're going to change exactly everything there is about Frank and take his qualities away. We want to enhance his qualities within the team. He certainly has a little bit of a different role but we're still wanting to do what is best for him, trying to go forward and he's got good timing or arrival in the box and scores goals for us as well.

"We have a lot of competition in midfield - that is very good - but we have a lot of games as well and competitions that we're going to be playing in. So, there will be time for everybody and that's the situation for all the players.

"He's an important player, Ramires is an important player, [Juan] Mata's an important, [John Obi] Mikel's an important player, [Michael] Essien. We can't think that we can only count on 11 players or 10 players.''

England boss Roy Hodgson, meanwhile, has indicated age will be no consideration when he selects his squad. Lampard was captain for the 2-1 win over Italy in midweek, but there are doubts about Lampard will be too old to travel to the World Cup in Brazil in two years.

"I remember having Jari Litmanen and Sami Hyypia with Finland, one was 38, the other 34, playing in a side whose average age was around 31,'' Hodgson said. "Sami was a very similar player at 34 to when he was 19.

"Frank is a very fit lad. He is one of those players who plays a lot of matches one after another without injury. I am rather hoping he will keep fit, playing well and first of all helps us get to Brazil and then be a contender.

"It is not something that concerns me at this moment in time. It might if we qualify and either he is not playing well or showing signs of being past it.

"Players are looked after so well in their clubs now with the rehabilitation and recuperation, it is only really major injuries that can stop them. Michael and Frank are still doing what they did at 19 but with the added advantage of having all the experience, quality and ability that matches and experience give you.

"Age is not a crucial factor when it comes to a footballer. It is how good he is, how fit he is and how capable he is of doing the work required. At the moment, I prefer just to concentrate on our qualifying matches.

"In two years' time they might still be flying. On the other hand, they might have retired, so I don't even bother to look ahead.''

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