Jose Mourinho thinks Frank Lampard could be Chelsea’s new Claude Makelele.
Veteran midfielder Lampard is yet to feature for the Blues in their pre-season campaign due to an injury, and The Special One doubts he will be able to play every game for the club this season.
But even though he is now 35-years-old, Lampard can still play a major role for Chelsea according to Mourinho.
The Blues boss recalls how French midfielder Makelele was a lynchpin of his first successful stint at Stamford Bridge, playing 87 times in his last two seasons as an ageing Blue.
Lampard is already a bona fide Chelsea legend, and Mourinho did well to prolong his stay at the club, when for most of last season it appeared his contract would not be renewed.
And while the manager has been at pains to suggest Chelsea’s new generation of young stars will be to the fore this season, he is adamant that Lamps retains the potential to thrive in Chelsea’s midfield well into his football dotage.
"In this moment we have just to analyse competition and make some choices, because I believe he is the same player, with the difference that he is 35 and the time [needed] to recover from match to match is not the same for a man of 35 to a man of 25. That's the only point. Now we have to analyse the fixtures, analyse the matches, analyse the week we have and to make a few choices," Mourinho said of Lampard.
"Frank can't play 60 matches like he did before, but the quality of the player and what he represents for the way I like to play football is exactly the same.
"He's intelligent, he's open, he has a very good relationship with me. He knows that I'm very experienced and he knows what I did, for example, with Makelele here in the last two years of Makelele.
“He knows I know how to do it with players of his age, because at the end of the day we have to be just clever, because the player is the same."