PURCHASE, N.Y. – For all the hubbub surrouding Frank Lampard's arrival, his first day of work came with almost no fanfare at all.
The English legend walked in with his new teammates, donned an orange pinny and went to work with his new teammates in his first training session with New York City FC Wednesday morning.
“It’s amazing. We’ve been waiting and waiting, as you already know, as well as everyone involved with the club and the fans,” rookie defender Shay Facey said. “Everyone has been really excited and today he’s here, and I’m sure a lot of the guys after training will be talking to him and getting as much out of him as they can.”
After a brief conversation with assistant coach Miles Joseph, Lampard blended in with the rest of the players, participating in fitness work, small-sided passing drills and a larger, half-field, full-sided drill.
“He’s another guy. Obviously he’s had a fantastic career so far, but he’s just another guy out there,” midfielder Tommy McNamara said. “It’s great to see that, great to see he knows everyone’s name already and how he interacts like one of the guys.”
When with the defensive unit, Lampard was vocal and encouraging, giving Khiry Shelton a pat on the back when the rookie blocked a ball out of bounds. Lampard himself also won a ball with a slide tackle on Kwadwo Poku and then quickly played an outlet to Adam Nemec.
When on the other side of the ball, Lampard orchestrated the attack, playing quality balls wide and combining well with David Villa on short passes. (Villa, meanwhile, seemed so excited to welcome Lampard, he posted an Instagram snap of the two of them together.)
His lone shot attempt was blocked by Kwame Watson-Siriboe.
In total, Lampard trained for a little less than an hour, sitting out the final larger-field, full-sided scrimmage. He stretched on the side with Josh Williams and Facey, the latter of whom had numerous interactions with Lampard when the two were at Manchester City together.
“I’d see him each day going into training and we’d chat now and again. English guys tend to stay together, you know how it is,” said Facey, who was a member of the Manchester City U-21 side. “He’d give me the odd tip or two even though he’s not in my position – more confidence, belief and all that kind of stuff. I’m sure he’ll help everyone else here. Everyone is looking forward to it.”
McNamara, in his second year as a professional, is particularly looking for more chances to learn from Lampard, both on and off the field.
“I think there’s a lot to be learned just from watching him and playing with him, seeing what he does in certain situations, how he carries himself, how he takes care of himself off the field,” McNamara said. “Obviously as we start playing more and training more together, there’s going to be a lot more back and forth about different things, different ideas.”
Lampard is expected to make his debut for NYCFC July 12 against Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium. Until then, he will continue to get acclimated to his new teammates and his new surroundings.
“There’s no ego with Frank,” said Facey. “He’s a really nice guy and I think that’s what took him so far in his career. He’s never had much bad things said about him. He’s a really nice guy as well as a world-class footballer. It’s easy to come and blend with our lads.”