Alex Ferguson has hailed Frank Lampard as “unbelievable” and admitted he missed a trick by failing to sign him from West Ham.
Newly crowned Premier League champions Manchester United welcome UEFA Champions League-chasing Chelsea to Old Trafford on Sunday, and Lampard goes into the game just one behind Bobby Tambling in the visitors’ all-time goalscoring record, which stands at 202.
The 34-year-old England international switched to Stamford Bridge from Upton Park in 2001 for a fee of 11 million pounds and has since gone on to establish himself as one of the leading midfielders of his generation.
And Ferguson has expressed his regret at not beating Chelsea to his signing after revealing United considered making a move for the player while he was still at West Ham.
“Lampard is fantastic – I don’t think there’s a midfield player who will ever do those 200 goals again. It is quite phenomenal. I think the guy has had a great career, I must say,” he said.
The United manager went on to compare Lampard to the likes of Old Trafford legend Bryan Robson and former Liverpool and Ipswich midfielder John Wark due to his knack of “coming into the box just at the right time”.
“Plus, I can’t remember Frank ever being injured. I always thought that maybe he wasn’t playing because they thought he was a little bit past it,” Ferguson added.