New York City veteran Frank Lampard does not know whether the 2016 MLS season will be his last as a professional footballer.
After an injury-ravaged debut year in the United States, the 37-year-old Lampard is preparing for his first full season with New York City.
An extended loan spell with parent club Manchester City and a niggling calf problem hampered Lampard, leading to widespread criticism from local media regarding his commitment to MLS.
But as Lampard gears up for New York City’s season opener and coach Patrick Vieira’s competitive bow against Chicago Fire on March 6, the former Chelsea and England midfielder is braced for whatever the future holds.
“I don’t know yet whether this will be my last year as a player,” Lampard told the Daily Mail. “But whether it is or not, I don’t want to go out with a whimper.
“I could rely on the Chelsea thing and think that was great and take the wrong attitude about what this is. I haven’t done that. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a real desire. I am very driven to do as well as I can.
“I would hate to go home with the feeling I haven’t done it because it was something to do with me. If I didn’t give it the right attitude and then came away without being successful, I would hate that.
“I know the minute I drop, that kick up the backside comes. I have got no doubt about it that if I drop at 37, it will come. So I am taking this season full on. I have to adapt. I can’t train as hard as I used to. But I will give everything.
“I wouldn’t enjoy being here on a holiday. I’m not that kind of bloke. I would feel like I was taking the p***. The people here are very good. The team-mates around you, the club, the supporters, we were getting nearly 30,000 a week as a new franchise. It’s a big deal.”
Lampard, who almost joined LA Galaxy prior to Jose Mourinho’s second stint at Chelsea, added: “Why do I still want it? Because I still feel I have something left to give. I didn’t want to finish playing and think: ‘There was an experience to be had there and I didn’t take it’. I’ve always been like that. I could have stopped when I left Chelsea and known that I’d had a really good career and had no regrets but I wanted to push it.”