Frank Lampard says Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane would bully him on the pitch, as he talked about the opponents he most admired.
Lampard retired from professional football in 2016, after a season in the MLS with New York City FC. However, the former Chelsea man spent the majority of his career in England, so it was no surprise that he named a number of top Premier League midfielders as his toughest opponents.
“Steven Gerrard… it’s a tough one, I played against so many great players,” responded Lampard, in a video on the COPA90 YouTube channel. “I remember Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira, they were untouchable and they would sort of bully me on the pitch, in a good way. I felt in awe of them on the pitch.”
Keane and Vieira contested one of the biggest midfield rivalries of their era, when Manchester United and Arsenal were both at the top of their game and at the top of the league most seasons. Neither player had a reputation for backing down from a fight, so most midfielders playing at the time probably had a similar experience to Lampard.
Nonetheless, Lampard did still manage to win the league over the pair of them in 2004/05, before Vieira left for Juventus and Keane left for Celtic the next season. Developing his game as a young player playing against Premier League greats like those two probably helped Frank to improve and usher in a very successful period with Chelsea upon their departures.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, it had the opposite effect on the Gunners, as they haven’t won the league since.