Frank Lampard: New York City, England, MLS and Petr Cech

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Lampard: MLS is no retirement home

Frank Lampard believes English football risks losing talented players at a young age unless more is done to help them break into first-team football.

Lampard, now at MLS side New York City, had 13 years at Chelsea but says were he 18 now he would not be picked.

"The way the Premier League is it's so competitive, it's not easy for young boys to break through," Lampard, 37, told BBC Sport's Alex South.

"Those late teens early 20's, you can lose a young player."

Lampard, who was presented to the media as a New York player on Tuesday, made his senior debut at West Ham as a 17 year old and has gone on to make 885 club appearances so far in his career.

Back in 1996 when he was a youngster he was defended at a fans' forum by his West Ham manager Harry Redknapp, who told a doubting supporter Lampard would go "right to the very top".

Lampard made 60 appearances in all competitions within two and a half seasons of his debut but doubts such opportunity is available to young talent now, an issue which he feels hinders the England national team.

"There are questions that need to be answered that may help young boys get the quality they need at a younger age because that is a huge part of your development," added Lampard, who makes his MLS debut on 12 July against Toronto.

"I think you can lose potentially top players."

'Signing Petr Cech is a big deal'

Frank Lampard and Petr Cech
Lampard expects Arsenal to move closer to the Premier League title but feels Chelsea and Manchester City are favourites

Petr Cech managed eight clean sheets in 16 appearances for Chelsea last season prior to his summer move to Arsenal.

The Gunners finished third in the Premier League, 12 points behind the champions who will now rely on Thibaut Courtois, 22, as they bid to become the first club to retain the title since Manchester United in 2009.

"I think Arsenal signing Petr Cech is a big deal," added Lampard. "I think it's been a position that a lot of people at Arsenal, fans and friends have continuously bemoaned the fact that the keeper situation hasn't been sorted out for quite a few years.

"So he will be huge for them, he might push Arsenal into the running. I think Arsenal weren't a million miles away last year. Year in year out they are there or thereabouts and you have to think they will put a run together."

'I'm a lucky man'

Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo of New York City FC
Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo have both moved to New York after 20-year senior careers in their homelands

Lampard joins former Barcelona striker David Villa in the New York City squad, and the club added ex-Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo to their ranks on Monday.

The three have a total of 317 international caps, with Pirlo, 36, managing 115 for Italy.

"David and Andrea are at the top of the list, I'm a lucky man to be in the same squad as them," added Lampard, who made 106 England appearances.

"I've been watching all the games. I know every player and how they play. It will be a pleasure to play with them every day."

'I don't expect an easy ride'

In addition to New York's three marquee players, Major League soccer also boasts Steven Gerrard following his move to Los Angeles Galaxy and ex-AC Milan midfielder Kaka, who joined Orlando City last year.

The addition of such big names to the game in the US has led to some talk of its growth in the country while sceptics question whether players view a move there as a way to wind down their careers.

"It doesn't feel like a retirement home," added Lampard. "There is a pressure here, it's a huge city and in sport in America, people will give you credit if you work hard and they want success, that's a pressure in itself.

"I think that view is probably a bit of an old adage. In England we do have a tendency to be negative about certain situations. I don't expect an easy ride, I'm here to try and win and it's going to be hard work."

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