Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has insisted that 33-year-old midfielder Frank Lampard can still play an important role at the club next season.
Lampard regularly failed to secure a first-team berth last term under Andre Villas-Boas but returned to the fray after the Portuguese coach was dismissed, helping his side to an FA Cup and Champions League double. And the Italian manager, who was recently appointed on a permanent basis, claims the Blues' vice-captain still has plenty of years ahead of him, should he avoid major injuries.
“Frank is a very fit man,” Di Matteo told the Telegraph. “As long as he doesn’t get injured he can play for many years. He’s been very influential towards the end of the season. He made some key passes and he performed very well.
“At a certain age of course he will need a longer recovery time. I don’t see any problems with him going on. The club will make the decision with Frank but certainly he’ll be here next season.”
Di Matteo, 42, went on to back club captain John Terry to remain at the heart of the west London outfit's defence during the next campaign.
“He’s our skipper, our captain, our leader,” he continued. “I expect him to be the same next season. If you don’t have any major injuries you can go on as long as you are mentally and physically driven by playing football.”
The Switzerland-born boss also allayed concerns over the future of Fernando Torres after the striker expressed his desire to play a more prominent role following last season's Champions League final win.
“We have three strikers at the moment in the squad and I wouldn’t be sitting here saying who’s going to be playing,” he said. “They all have to fight for their position and whoever is in the best form and is the best for the team will be playing.
“I was always very happy with Fernando. The trophies he won with us and Spain should give him a lot of confidence.
"I spoke to him the morning after the Champions League final. It was a feeling he had at the time and we’ve continued to speak to the player. There are no concerns about Fernando.”
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