Frank Lampard has admitted that even he was surprised by his move to Manchester City, stating that the deal seemed to come out of nowhere.
Lampard signed with City-owned MLS side New York City FC this summer, opting to leave Chelsea after scoring a club record 211 goals in 648 appearances during his 13-season stint at Stamford Bridge.
However, with the expansion franchise not set for their first season until 2015, the 36-year-old has made a shock six-month loan return to the Premier League with City, despite earlier reports that he could link up with fellow NCYFC signing David Villa at Australian sister club Melbourne City FC.
His signing understandably raising a few eyebrows amongst fans, the veteran midfielder has confessed that he didn’t think he would ever be back in England, but believes that the Etihad is the best possible destination for him to keep up his sharpness ahead of his return to the USA.
‘It’s obviously a surprise. I didn’t even see this one coming. Obviously I signed for New York City, went out there to do all the press and the media, and then things all happened very quickly,’ he told the club’s official website.
‘It was an ideal fit for me really, to train and to be part of a squad and club of this stature. I needed to play and this has fitted the bill. I feel very flattered.
‘It’s very strange. 13 years at Chelsea and I feel like the new kid. I know a couple of the boys from the England squad obviously, like James Milner, but a lot of the others too from playing against them.’
His arrival allowing City to satisfy the need for a minimum of five homegrown players in European competition, Lampard stressed however that he’s not simply at the club to make up the numbers, despite the fierce competition for midfield places.
‘I’ll try to help in whatever way I can. I’m proud of the way I train, play and try to perform,’ he said.
‘The manager said he wants me to come here to fight for my place. I know there’s immense quality in the team, particularly in the midfield area, and I really respect that.
‘I’m certainly not here to step on any toes. I’ll just try to train my best, play my best and then it’s up to the manager.’
While unlikely to feature a central role during his first-half stay, with the club looking to fight on all fronts, there will likely be some opportunities of playing time for Lampard, although it remains to be seen what will happen when City face his former side on September 21.
How big a role will Lampard play during his Manchester City spell?