I want Lampard to stay! Di Matteo hopes Chelsea midfielder signs a new deal
20:52 GMT, 18 August 2012
Frank Lampard enters the final year of his Chelsea contract with manager Roberto Di Matteo hoping player and club can agree a new deal.
Di Matteo said: 'He has been very influential in his Chelsea career over the years and there are talks between the club and the player.
'I give my recommendation and it is the board who make the final decision. It is between the club and the player but I think Frank is a very important player for the club. He had a good game against Italy and I know what he can do.'
On and on: Frank Lampard's fitness is excellent
Di Matteo even believes that 34-year-old Lampard, who captained England against Italy in Berne on Wednesday, could play well beyond the next couple of years.
'He is in good shape, has not suffered any major injuries and he looks after himself,' said the Italian. 'Many players like this can go on to play until their late thirties.'
Lampard will face stiff competition for a midfield place this season, with Chelsea evolving from a team looking to feed the now-departed Didier Drogba at every opportunity to one with an emphasis on movement.
And with Chelsea looking for new marquee signings Eden Hazard and Oscar to rotate around the reborn Fernando Torres, it could mean a more withdrawn position for Lampard.
Future: Roberto Di Matteo hopes to have Lampard at his disposal for years to come
'Frank will have a little bit of a different role but we still want him to do what he does best in trying to go forward with his timing of arrival in the box and scoring goals,' said Di Matteo.
'We have a lot of competition in midfield, which is very good, but also a lot of games and competitions to play, so there will be time for everybody.'
Di Matteo is most concerned with improving Chelsea's Premier League results, starting on Sunday at Wigan.
Lampard's experience of such away tests is likely to be needed, with Oscar expected to remain in reserve after arriving at the club during the week following Olympic duty with Brazil.
With the other new signing Marko Marin injured, it means Hazard is set to be the only debutant.