Frank Lampard was set to be one of New York City FC’s marquee players when the new Major League Soccer season kicks off in March 2015, but after it was revealed that he had never officially signed a contract with the MLS side, the England midfielder extended his contract with Manchester City until the end of the season.
Lampard will now join New York City at the end of the current Premier League season, four months into the new MLS season. With New York City based in Manchester for the first of their two friendlies, it was a chance for Lampard to meet with his new team, and after their inaugural 2-0 win over St. Mirren on Tuesday, coach Jason Kries spoke to Here Is The City about Lampard’s first interactions with the newest MLS franchise.
"He's come round to a couple of the training sessions and met all the guys the very first night we were here. Last night he came and had dinner with us at the hotel," Kreis revealed.
“You talk about the names of these guys and you know that they are world class soccer players, then it's a question of what kind of people they are. Frank is just like David (Villa), these are two fantastic men that I am happy to have.”
Kreis then tried to play down the impact Lampard would have when he finally joined up with the club, insisting nobody would be getting too star-struck within the club.
"He's just a normal guy, got two arms and two legs like everybody else. He’s just really casual and everyone enjoys being around him," he said.
During the MLS expansion draft, the New York City fans were heard chanting “Where’s Frank Lampard?” as they voiced their distaste at the deal that saw his stay in Manchester extended, but Kreis thinks the fans will welcome him with open arms when he finally arrives in New York.
"I think they will. I think at the end of it all when everybody is calmed down and settled down a little bit that everybody can forgive and forget."
However, the former Real Salt Lake coach was quick to explain that NYCFC was not about big names and marquee signings.
"It’s my dream really that at some point very quickly the fans of NYC aren't talking about the individual players, I'm hopeful that they understand that this is about a team, it isn't about David Villa or Frank Lampard or Jason Kries. This is about a squad and a club and what we can do for the community."
New York City FC play Brondby in their second friendly on Sunday at the City Academy Stadium and there is a chance that Lampard could be there to watch his new club in action as Manchester City are at home to Newcastle United this weekend.