Tom Lawrence has revealed how Frank Lampard helped him through the pain of losing his mother and says the Chelsea manager is “always there” for him.
Lawrence’s mother Deb died when the Wales forward played for Lampard at Derby last season.
“If I ever need anything, he’s always there,” Lawrence said of Lampard, who joined Chelsea after guiding Derby to the Sky Bet Championship play-off final in his one season at the club.
“He was great with me with things that have happened in my personal life at the back end of last year.
“He’s also helped me a lot and I’ll always have great things to say about the gaffer (Lampard).”
Lawrence hopes to win his 20th cap against Azerbaijan on Friday as Wales seek to revive their Euro 2020 qualification hopes.
Wales trail leaders Hungary by six points, albeit with a game in hand, and are three adrift of Croatia and Slovakia in the race for a top-two spot.
But boss Ryan Giggs has been boosted by the fact that Lawrence, Gareth Bale, Daniel James and Harry Wilson have all been among the goals at club level this season.
Bale ended a scoring drought stretching back to March 16 with a brace in Real Madrid’s 2-2 LaLiga draw at Villarreal on Sunday, although Wales’ talisman did blot his copybook by being sent off in stoppage time.
“There’s a few of us pushing for a start on Friday and we’ll all be looking forward to getting on the pitch,” Lawrence said.
“When he (Bale) is playing he’s one of the world’s best. Every time he can get on the pitch for Wales is a bonus.
“It always helps when you’re playing games. When you’re not match-fit it’s never easy to come and play games.
“We can’t leave it all down to Gareth himself, other players have got to chip in and help the team.”
Lawrence has extra motivation to reach next year’s competition as he missed out at Euro 2016 when Wales qualified for their first tournament since 1958 and reached the semi-finals in France.
The 25-year-old tore ankle ligaments having been part of the pre-tournament training squad in Portugal.
“It was a tough time,” Lawrence said. “You’re looking forward to going to the Euros and for that to be halted by an injury is never nice.
“I’d love to play in a major tournament. It was my biggest learning curve in missing the Euros and dealing with that.
“Since then I’ve come on a long way. It would be nice to get in there again.”