• Premier League

Lampard compares Hazard to Zola

ESPN staff
March 19, 2013
Frank Lampard is enjoying playing with Eden Hazard and Chelsea's other young players © Getty Images

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has backed Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard to emulate Gianfranco Zola and become a hero at Stamford Bridge.

While Lampard's 200th goal for Chelsea stole all the headlines in Sunday's win over West Ham, Hazard was the shining star as the Blues moved back into third spot in the Premier League ahead of faltering London rivals Spurs.

Now Lampard has issued a glowing endorsement of Hazard, backing him to step into some Zola's celebrated footsteps.

"The last few weeks he has been absolutely top drawer," Lampard told the Daily Mirror. "It reminds me of when I came here with Zola. He was something I'd not seen before, with his awareness and ability on the ball, the stop-start and the way he turned on a sixpence.

"I've said to him that he's got absolutely everything. He's got the potential, he's 22 years of age and his ability on the ball is scaring the life out of people.

"When you have players playing like that, the level he's at and the level [Juan] Mata's been at all season, you're going to scare teams and it's an absolute pleasure to play with them, something I'm really, really enjoying."

Lampard's record breaking achievements at Chelsea don't seem to have shaken the club's resolve in their continuing refusal to hand the 34-year-old midfielder a new contract, but he still believes the future is bright at Stamford Bridge even if he does not have a part to play in it.

"These boys give us a lot of hope for the future," Lampard said of Chelsea's new generation of stars. "There are a lot of positives at this club and at times this season they haven't always come out for different reasons.

"But when you see them playing and you recognise how young they are, you try to fit them into the system. It's all developing but when you see the results of it, it's very exciting for the club and for the fans. They can make special things happen."

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