West Ham coach Julian Dicks says he knew Chelsea legend Frank Lampard was destined for great things

West Ham United coach Julian Dicks has revealed he knew Chelsea legend Frank Lampard was destined for great things when he was his boot boy.

Dicks, a hero in East London, returned to Upton Park in the summer as coach under new manager Slaven Bilic.

The Terminator, as he was affectionately known by the Upton Park faithful, has been speaking to the club's official website about his time as a player and coach with the Hammers.

Dicks was one of the experienced professionals in Harry Redknapp's West Ham squad when the club's golden generation of youngsters including the likes of Rio Ferdinand emerged from the Academy.

Lampard left the club in acrimonious circumstances for fierce rivals Chelsea in 2001 following the sacking of his uncle Redknapp and dad Frank Senior who was the assistant manager.

'Fantastic lad, fantastic player'

There were doubts on both sides of the East-West London divide about Lampard's ability to become a top player, but Dicks insists he knew he would make it to the top.

"Frank you could see he'd be a very good player," Dicks told whufc.com.

"There was a time here when they kept playing him and maybe they should have dropped him and said 'look just take a couple of games out and then you'll come back in'.

"They should have dropped him, but they didn't.

"He got through it, but listen Frank was like me, he'd always be here first thing in the morning and me and him would be the last to leave at night.

"All we'd do we'd go in the gym but he was always working. Always working.

"Obviously it didn't help having his dad and his uncle here it must have been tough for him but he was a good lad.

"He was my boot boy, I got on really well with Frank.

"Fantastic lad, fantastic player."

Things could have been so different

The Lampard-West Ham story could have been so different.

The Romford-born former England midfield star graduated from the self-styled Academy of Football under his legendary dad and uncle.

Lampard scored 24 goals in 148 games for the Hammers and cemented his place as a key player.

But the relationship between the young midfielder and the Upton Park faithful turned sour when he was sold to London rivals Chelsea and claimed he was not liked by supporters, a section of whom believed he only played at certain times because of nepotism.

Lampard went on to criticise the club and its fans on numerous occasions and received abuse from the terraces whenever the two clubs met.

The fact he would invariably kiss the Chelsea badge to antagonise them further when he inevitably scored against his old side did not help matters.

Lampard went on to prove just how good he was during a glittering career with the Blues.

For some West Ham fans, hearing one of their best ever players Dicks give Lampard such high praise might be hard to take but it is also interesting to hear him set the record straight about the situation which caused the conflict in the first place.

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