HARRISON, New Jersey – Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard will not outstay his welcome at the top of the Premier League when he no longer meets his own high standards.
The England international was in excellent form in Wednesday's 4-0 victory over Kitchee in the pre-season Asia Trophy and scored a penalty to earn praise from new boss Andre Villas-Boas.
But, at 33 years of age, Lampard knows his time is running out, especially after a frustrating 2010/11 campaign in which injuries restricted him to just 10 Premier League goals.
The former West Ham man had scored 22 goals in the previous top-flight season and, although he feels strong, he is honest enough to admit he will retire when he cannot produce the goods.
"Pre-season is always been about getting yourself fresh and I really feel I'm getting there," said Lampard. "If I didn't feel I was getting there I wouldn't want to hang around too long.
"I love getting into the box, getting up and down the pitch. I know I can do it now and, hopefully, I can do it for a few more years. But I know that day will come - although I'll probably be sold before then!
"I do have to look after myself. There are plenty of things I do in the gym, I am with the masseuses occasionally.
"You look at people who hang around in their 30s and they have to be disciplined about what they do."
He added: "Last season was a stand-out season for me. I have been lucky enough to have gone through season after season without picking up injuries.
"That actually hit me harder - because I had been so lucky. Now I have been away, freshened up and, touch wood, I haven't felt my groin at all.
"It is much harder when you aren't used to being injured. The frustration is there from the start.
Lampard is also happy to play any role in Villas-Boas' plans, as long as he is not forced to drop his attacking instincts.
He said: "I don't mind where I play. I have actually played there (a deeper role) for England fairly regularly.
"But I do like to get forward and this won't be a role that will stop me getting into the box. As long as I am never told not to stray beyond the halfway line, I'll be happy."