NEW YORK – Nearly one year after first signing with the club, Frank Lampard is finally nearing his New York City FC debut.
When NYCFC signed Lampard as the club's second Designated Player last summer on the heels of the signing of Spanish legend David Villa, the move attracting unparalleled fanfare. But Lampard would go on to spend the entirety of the Barclay’s Premier League season with Manchester City in England, leading to some criticism and frustration from fans in the Big Apple for missing out on the start of the MLS campaign with NYCFC.
Lampard is eager to make up for the lost time potentially as early as Sunday against Toronto FC (3 pm ET, ESPN and ESPN Deportes), when the former England international will be available for selection by head coach Jason Kreis.
“I think the only debt I have is to come here and play good football,” Lampard said on Tuesday at his first press conference since rejoining the club. "If there is a debt or if anyone feels there’s a debt, then I’ll try to answer everything on the pitch. It’s what I’ve done my whole career.
"I’m a pretty straight person. I work very hard and try to do my best. If that can bring success and I can help my team win, then I think none of us will have debts to pay. We’ll all be happy.”
Lampard started his Manchester City spell strong last year, scoring six goals in his first 15 appearances, but then as the calendar flipped to 2015 the minutes began to dry up and the frustration began to build for the veteran.
“I was a bit frustrated, probably mainly through January, February, March,” Lampard said. “It’s difficult to have regrets and look back with a negative feeling. My aim is to look forward from now, so I don’t know about regrets.
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“All I am is very excited to be here now and to try to play my best football. I think we’re in a decent position in the league here now where we can make a push for the playoffs and put a good run together. I hope to be a part of that. I won’t have any regrets at the end of the season when we hopefully have a successful year.”
It's still unclear whether Kreis will call upon the 37-year-old on Sunday. The NYCFC coach was noncommittal as to the Designated Player's availability.
“I have a mindset and a plan, but plans and mindsets typically change,” Kreis said. “I’m open to seeing what’s what during the match and as we lead up to the match as well. Decisions will be made as they need to be made, and I don’t need to make them yet. But I have a plan.”