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'Lampard fired by Tinkerman switch'

Chelsea great John Hollins says Claudio Ranieri must take a lot of credit for Frank Lampard scoring 200 goals.

Chelsea great John Hollins says Claudio Ranieri must take a lot of credit for Frank Lampard scoring 200 goals.

LONDON - Former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri must take a lot of credit for Frank Lampard reaching the 200-goal milestone for the club, according to former Stamford Bridge great John Hollins.

Italian Ranieri, now Monaco coach and who was dubbed 'The Tinkerman' for his habit of chopping and changing the team at Chelsea, bought midfielder Lampard from West Ham United for an eye-popping fee of 11 million pounds ($16.63 million) in 2001.

Lampard spent much of his debut season on the right of a four-man midfield and the majority of fans were sceptical of the new boy's value to the team.

But Ranieri moved him to the middle in his second campaign and that switch kick-started his career.

"Frank told him, 'look I don't want to be substituted and I don't want to be rested unless I'm injured'," Hollins told Reuters in an interview.

"Full credit to Ranieri. He listened to that and ... in his second season Frank came into his own in the centre of midfield."

Hollins, a lung-busting, goal-scoring midfielder in the Lampard mould, chalked up 592 appearances in two spells at Stamford Bridge between 1963 and 1984.

That was the third highest total at the club, behind Ron Harris and Peter Bonetti, until Lampard overtook him this season.

"Frank has that uncanny knack of being a great passer of the ball and also being able to get in the penalty box to score goals," said the 66-year-old Hollins.

"In the modern game players are rested, changed and swapped about - no one gets any consistency. But Frank rarely gets injured and he has got better and better over the years.

"He's got a great engine - all he needs is a battery charge now and again. When he gets a knock he doesn't need a rest, he just shrugs it off and keeps going," added Hollins.

"I think he will go down as a Chelsea legend in that he dedicated his fitness and everything else to his job."