FRANK LAMPARD reckons playing for Manchester City has made him feel YOUNG again.
The 36-year-old’s impressive start to life at the Etihad Stadium has been interrupted by a muscle problem that caused him to be stretchered off in the 4-1 win over Tottenham.
The thigh injury kept the midfielder out of last night’s Champions League tussle with CSKA Moscow.
But Lampard, who is on loan at City from MLS outfit New York City, says moving to the Premier League champions has helped him rediscover his true game.
He came off the bench to grab a crucial equaliser against Chelsea that prevented his table-topping old club from disappearing into the sunset.
And the England veteran followed that up with two strikes in the 7-0 Capital One Cup thumping of Sheffield Wednesday and another in the 4-2 win at Hull.
For his final three years at Chelsea, Lampard anchored the midfield, when he played, to allow youngsters like Eden Hazard to flourish.
But now he believes he is back playing his true role – and that is why he has been such a success after having the shackles taken off by City boss Manuel Pellegrini.
Lampard said: “I’ve worked on my timing for years. When I was a kid my dad was always very forceful about me arriving in the box as much as I could, which is what I always try to do.
“The one thing I’ve found out about City very quickly is that with the build-up play, amount of possession in the opponents’ half and quality we have in the squad, I get so many chances to make runs into the box.
“You get a real confidence each time that one of your team-mates will find you.
“With David Silva, for instance, you know that if you make a run the ball will come to you on a sixpence and that’s something I really enjoy.
“Also, the manager has given me licence to get in the box whenever I can.
“The last three years at Chelsea I was more of a holding midfielder, getting forward only occasionally. That was because they brought in so many number 10s, such as Hazard and Oscar, that I had to adapt.
“I’ve played as more of an attacking midfielder at City and it’s made me feel young again!
“I’ve been given a new lease of life that I’m really enjoying. I’m relishing the opportunity to attack and get into the box, so I’m hoping more chances will come along in the future.”
Lampard claims that leaving London for the first time has given his career the jolt it needed and taken him out of his comfort zone.
He added: “Everything was so easy for me in that I’d lived in London for a long time and didn’t have to think about the journey to and from the training ground.
“Coming to City meant that I had to get to know the lads and everyone connected with the club and start from scratch.
“All those are challenges I’ve really enjoyed – but I didn’t expect to enjoy them quite as much as I have.
“I thought coming up to Manchester would be a shock to the system, but I never realised it would be a shock in a good way.”