Harry Redknapp's tale about Lampard's exemplary work ethic

Ex-West Ham manager shared that story with Newstalk

BY Raf Diallo 14:44 Thursday 2 February 2017, 14:44 2 Feb 2017

Frank Lampard at West Ham in 2001. Picture by Neal Simpson EMPICS Sport

As Frank Lampard announces his retirement, there has been virtually universal acclaim for his achievements as a Premier League player.

When the 38 year old first started out at West Ham, where his father had once played, the future Chelsea midfielder wasn't exactly universally appreciated by the fanbase.

At a now infamous West Ham fans forum in 1996, one supporter aired his views about Lampard. Essentially the fan's argument was that the future England international was in no way deserving of his elevation through the ranks - with an impassive Lampard sitting there taking the verbal hammering of his worth without flinching.

Fortunately for him, his manager Harry Redknapp was resolute and verbally fought his corner - and with the passing of time, he would eventually be proven correct.

Indeed he promised that young Lampard would "go right to the top" and when you take in the trophies he won and his extraordinary goal rate from midfield at club level, then that can be defined as "the top".

Last summer, Redknapp spoke to us about that incident but also talked about the secret to Lampard's success: His almost peerless work ethic from a young age, echoing his father's own approach to self improvement. 

"He got the [running] spikes. Frank [Senior] couldn't run. He put the spikes on, ran ten yards...jogging, jogging, turn and run. And the kid did exactly the same as his Dad," said the ex-Tottenham and Hammers boss, before recalling a dark and gloomy evening when a shadowy figure appeared to have broken into the West Ham training ground in the mid-1990s.

"I thought somebody had got over the fence onto the training pitch," said Redknapp.

He was sat by the window in his office when he spotted the silhouette, only to discover that it was Frank Lampard Junior doing sprint up and down the training ground alone with running spikes in order to add something extra to his pace. Essentially a chip off the old block.

And it wasn't a one off as Lampard regularly stayed behind at training to work on aspects of his game according to Redknapp.

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