Media Roundup: NYCFC to Target Youth?

Jack Harrison vs. Philadelphia Union

The season may be over but it’s been a busy seven days for news in and around NYCFC HQ.

In a week which kicked off with the announcement that Frank Lampard’s two-year stay at the club was coming to an end, there’s plenty of speculation out there as to how the team will be strengthened over the winter months.

Following Andoni Iraola and Mehdi Ballouchy’s decisions to retire, reports are suggesting that Claudio Reyna and Patrick Vieira will target youth in the midfield area to replace the outgoing trio.

ESPN FC’s Mark Ogden picks up on this thread in his column posted on Wednesday.

Ogden writes: “New York City FC is preparing to reduce the average age of its squad by targeting younger recruits rather than an aging superstar to fill the designated player slot vacated by Frank Lampard's departure, sources have told ESPN FC.

“Lampard, 38, will not be retained by the club, part of the City Football Group (CFG), after coming to the end of his MLS contract earlier this month.

“The former Chelsea and England midfielder overcame a difficult start to his MLS career, having delayed his arrival in 2015 due to an extended loan spell with Manchester City, by scoring 12 goals in 19 games during the 2016 season.

“But despite Lampard's eventual success this year, NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira and sporting director Claudio Reyna are keen to use his departure as the catalyst for the club's attempts to develop a younger squad, built around emerging talent and players in their late 20s and early 30s.

“While NYCFC have not ruled out a move for a veteran global star in exceptional circumstances, should an unexpected opportunity arise, sources told ESPN FC that the club is keen introduce a younger player in the third DP slot alongside the 37-year-old Italian Andrea Pirlo and Spanish forward David Villa, who is 35 in December.”

Interesting stuff… let the rumor mill turn!

Elsewhere, there’s a great interview with Andrea Pirlo first featured on but since picked up by media outlets across the globe.

In this revealing piece, Pirlo announced his intentions to stay in football after his time with NYCFC comes to a close.

Pirlo is quoted: “After a 20-year career at the highest level, you feel the need to get away from that and have fun playing football, but with less stress.

“It was all planned. Once I reached an insurmountable level of stress, when mentally I’d have felt stuck, I had the clarity of thought to say ‘enough’.

“That moment came after the Champions League final with Barcelona.

“When I leave NYCFC? I think I’ll stay involved in football, because it’s the only thing I know how to do. Football is my life, so I’d like to be a director or something like that.”

Speaking of Pirlo, he was ranked no.1 for central midfield in’s position-by-position look at the top performers in each position last season.

The article reads: “Moved from his traditional deep-lying position to a more advanced role by coach Patrick Vieira, the Italy legend was a calming influence while compiling 11 assists.

“Pirlo also was more active than he's given credit for, leading two-way central midfielders with 180 recoveries.”

Finally, England goalkeeper Joe Hart has told Italian publication La Stampa that NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira played a key role in his loan to Torino.

Hart said: "I grew up watching Italian football on TV, I had been to Turin before and it always seemed intriguing. I talked to people that I trust, like [Patrick] Vieira who knows the place.

“Vieira said ‘Go, you'll be fine there.’ He understood my situation, and knew that I needed to play for a serious team."

More media headlines next Friday! 

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