Slaven Bilic praises the retired Frank Lampard ahead of Southampton clash

Slaven Bilic praises the retired Frank Lampard ahead of Southampton clash

Slaven Bilic has praised one of the "biggest and greatest" players Frank Lampard after his retirement.

Danial Kennedy

West Ham United manager, Slaven Bilic has heaped praise on former Hammer and team-mate Frank Lampard after he announced his retirement from the professional game. 

A great example 

Lampard is one of if not the best midfielder of his generation, and started his life at Upton Park making his way through the youth rankings and making 187 appearances and 39 goals during six seasons at the club. 

The midfielder would only improve from the Chelsea, Manchester City and New York City FC, Lampard announced his retirement on Thursday and ahead of their clash with Southampton on Saturday Bilic praised Lampard's excellent efforts. 

“People talk about legends and it’s a very common word," Bilic told "But Frank is one of the ambassadors, one of the biggest legends in the Premier League." 

“I know him well of course," he stated. "As he started his career here, him and Rio Ferdinand, when I was playing for West Ham in 1996/97."

“He stayed with his feet on the ground and he’s a top gentleman," the coach stressed. "A top player, a top….basically everything.” 

“He didn’t rely only on his talent," the 48-year-old admitted. "I remember him staying after every session, not once, twice or three times a week." 

“He is the biggest and greatest example to young players," Bilic added. "To show what they have to do to be in position to achieve something in football.”

Not thinking of any changes 

The Hammers were heavily linked with a number of players during the January transfer window, with one of those been Torino loanee Joe Hart. 

The 29-year-old moved to Italy after been frozen out of the Manchester City side by Pep Guardiola, Hart was linked with a possible move to the London Stadium when his loan deal has ended.

Bilic admitted his admiration for Hart, but stated that he was happy with Adrian and Darren Randolph. "We are heavily linked with every player looking for a move," he stated. "I rate Joe Hart really highly as a great goalkeeper and personality."

"On the other hand if there is one position that I am not even thinking of changing," Bilic concluded. "It is goalkeeper because I have two great ones."

West Ham United will take on Southampton at the St Mary's Stadium on Saturday, February 4 with kick-off at 3pm GMT.