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Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Lampard's moment of truth
Lampard wants more moments of success at Chelsea
Lampard wants more moments of success at Chelsea
BBC Sport Online chief football writer Phil McNulty examines the challenge facing England midfield man Frank Lampard after his 11m move to Chelsea.

Frank Lampard does not have a tough act to follow when it comes to big money English signings at Chelsea - the sad figure of Chris Sutton barely merits a mention at Stamford Bridge these days.

Sutton was a 10m nightmare, the wrong man at the wrong club at the wrong time who was forced to rebuild his career at Celtic.

Lampard comes even more expensive at 11m, but Chelsea clearly have no fears that the England midfield man will flop in the fashion of the luckless Sutton.

But Lampard still has much to prove as he takes membership of the elite club of 10m-plus players in the Premiership.

He is currently on the outside looking in as Sven Goran Eriksson's England midfield takes shape around the trio of David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard.

Ranieri's act of faith
Ranieri 's act of faith
And he had an unfulfilling season at West Ham last term as hopes of FA Cup glory were replaced by a late plunge into the relegation zone.

Leeds United and Aston Villa were also linked with Lampard, but only Chelsea were willing to risk 11m on an arguably unproven talent.

West Ham have now raked in 29m from the double sale of Lampard and his great friend Rio Ferdinand, who moved to Leeds United last season.

Lampard will be hoping to follow in Ferdinand's footsteps after watching him blossom at Elland Road and cement a place in the England team.

He will also remain well regarded at West Ham, where most supporters appreciate he had no choice other than to leave after the manner of his father Frank snr.'s departure as assistant to Harry Redknapp.

  Frank Lampard factfile
1978: Born in Romford, son of former West Ham defender Frank snr.
1995: Joins West Ham as a trainee.
1996: Makes his full debut as a second-half sub against Sheffield Wednesday in May.
1998: Makes 42 appearances as West Ham finish eighth in the Premiership.
October: Makes full England debut.
2000: Hammers finish ninth with Lampard scoring 14 goals.
November: Insists he will not leave Upton Park following Rio Ferdinand's 18m transfer to Leeds.
2001: Claims he wants to quit the club after boss Harry Redknapp and his father leave.
13 June: Signs a five-year deal with Chelsea.

But his first task is to convince the doubters who suggest he was merely in the slipstream of youngsters like Joe Cole and Michael Carrick as opposed to leading them.

Lampard is a good player, but the jury is still out on whether he is an outstanding one and whether 11m proves to be good value for Chelsea.

He is industrious, skilful and has an eye for goal, but whether he has that extra element of quality that pushes him - and of course Chelsea - on to the next level remains to be seen.

It is not just Lampard's transfer tag that will place pressure on him when he begins his career at Stamford Bridge.

He will be seen as a crucial element in coach Claudio Ranieri's effort to turn Chelsea from perennial under-achievers to genuine championship challengers.

Lampard's new expensive status means he must emerge as a figure of major influence within a Chelsea side studded with expensive foreign stars.

Ferdinand - hit at Leeds
Ferdinand - Leeds success

He may yet be joined by Barcelona's Emmanuel Petit - but Lampard will undoubtedly be regarded as the shining symbol of Ranieri's determination to inject young English blood into his side.

Lampard's own resolve should not be doubted.

He was the target of terrace critics at Upton Park before emerging from the shadow of his father to win full England recognition.

Lampard must now move his career up into a higher gear - and do the same for a Chelsea team desperate to cast off its image as Premiership pretenders.

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14 Jun 01 |  Chelsea
Chelsea land Lampard
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