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Transfer Rater: Willian to Man United


Lampard relieved to announce exit

Frank Lampard says it was "a relief" to confirm he has kicked his last ball for Chelsea, as his trophy-laden career at Stamford Bridge officially came to an end on Monday.

The veteran England midfielder released a statement announcing he would be leaving the Blues after 13 years, with Lampard speaking publicly for the first time about the news as he appeared at an England media conference in Miami.

- Brewin: Lampard's legend will live on at Chelsea

"It was very difficult. After 13 years, the club has become part of my life," Lampard said when asked about the end of his Chelsea career. "I released a statement that said it all really. It's difficult, but you have to move on, the club will move on.

"It was almost a relief to say it and now I can move forward, but of course it is a huge thing for me."

He added: "I never really thought I'd see the day. I was so entrenched in the life at Chelsea, it overtook my life. I've been lucky enough to share it with lots of great people behind the scenes. It has been a huge part of my life so it cannot be anything but a wrench to leave."

He has been linked with a move to New York City FC but said nothing is certain yet.

Asked about his future, he said: "I'd like to get it sorted after the World Cup. The American thing is an option, I make no bones about that. I'm looking at different options, but the main thing is I want to carry on playing. I feel very fit and fresh and I'm enjoying it so I will keeping I'd love to play for a few more years.

"I can't tell you where that is now and that is something to be parked at the minute."

He hopes that, now his Chelsea exit is confirmed, he can focus on performing at his best for England at the World Cup this summer.

"I've got a clear head now," he said. "I'm quite a big boy. I can handle it. It's a weight off my shoulders to an extent."

Lampard will captain England in their warm-up game against Ecuador in Miami tomorrow, with the 35-year-old admitting he feels a responsibility as one of the senior members of Roy Hodgson's squad to help the positive mood in the group.

"Any squad is a mixture of the young and slightly older, or experienced, players. We have a responsibility and we take that on board," continued Lampard.

"We don't try and ram it down the throat of the youngsters telling them what they should do. It's a case of letting them go and letting is about playing without fear, showing the talents that got them into the squad.

"I think myself, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart are the more experienced players here and it is our job to be there and give some help in the dressing room and around the hotel if we can. Keep the squad very happy, be a line to the boss and the staff and if we cab help in that way, we will have a happy camp. We also need to play well."

Lampard went on to praise the attention to details in the preparations that have been put together by England boss Hodgson, as he suggested the anticipated tricky climatic conditions his teammates will face in their opening World Cup match against Italy in Manaus on June 14 should not hamper their ambitions.

"I am very impressed with what Roy and the staff have done," added Lampard. "They have covered every base and that gives us no excuses. It is up to us to get to the level where we can deal with it. It is no different for the team from Italy."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report


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