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Frank Lampard shows class after being put on the spot over West Ham star Declan Rice

Ex Chelsea boss Frank Lampard went some way to healing old West Ham United wounds when he was put on the spot over Declan Rice.

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Everyone knows the history between West Ham and Lampard junior.

There has been no love lost between West Ham fans and the Academy graduate turned Chelsea legend over the years.

Hammers fans have taken a great deal of stick over their treatment of Lampard since he left them for Chelsea.

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But the saga has been misunderstood and misconstrued over time.

Photo: Phil Cole Allsport

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While suggestions of nepotism when Lampard was an emerging talent were regrettable, Lampard was no saint in the bitter relationship.

The retired former England star was a massive West Ham fan as a kid, watching his dad, Frank Senior, carve out legend status at the club.

But the relationship between Lampard and the then Upton Park faithful turned sour when he was sold to London rivals Chelsea and claimed he was not liked by supporters.

Lampard went on to criticise the club and its fans on numerous occasions and received abuse from the terraces whenever the two clubs met.

The fact he would invariably kiss the Chelsea badge to antagonise them further when he inevitably scored against his old side did not help matters, nor did the proclamation that he is Chelsea’s biggest fan.

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Time is a great healer but so are the right words

They say time is a great healer. But words can help too.

And Lampard showed true class as he paid respect to West Ham when put on the spot over Declan Rice at the London Football Awards.

The Hammers hate figure admitted the long running links claiming he wanted to sign Rice while Chelsea boss were true.

But he went on to make it clear that West Ham were the right club for the brilliant midfielder. And he said he enjoys watching his performances for the Hammers.

“I’ve probably given it away in how I’ve spoken about him,” Lampard told ESPN.

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Lampard shows his class with respectful West Ham response after being put on the spot over Rice

“He is certainly a player I admire. It is common knowledge I was a big fan of his. It didn’t happen for various reasons. We obviously brought players in in the summer and it didn’t happen. But I was a big fan of his.

“For understandable reasons as well, West Ham are understanding of the player they have on their hands. I don’t want to put Declan in a position with this because all I see from Declan is absolute performance and desire to play for West Ham, the club he is at now.

“I’m sure he absolutely respects the club for giving him his opportunity there. The choices will be Declan’s as the years go ahead but the performances he’s giving there now is great to watch.”

Lampard also showed class when it came to West Ham while managing Chelsea.

He was very complimentary of the Hammers before and after victory and defeats to his old club. And he refused to take the bait when pushed on ‘getting one over West Ham fans’.

Not the first time Lampard has shown a more mature attitude towards West Ham

But Lampard’s classiest move was his praise for Hammers hero David Martin after West Ham’s win over Chelsea back in December 2019.

The goalkeeping son of West Ham legend Alvin – who was playing for the Hammers when Lampard was an emerging talent at West Ham – Martin’s calm display on his Premier League debut at the age of 33 was fairytale stuff.

And Lampard took time out to congratulate the Alvin and David despite losing the game.

“I’m sure Alvin is very proud,” Lampard said (The Sun).

“To come in like he did with all the talk, his son played a very good game and it was great. I was very happy for him. He has worked hard and got an opportunity to play for West Ham. To do as well as he did — we have to give credit.”

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