Frank Lampard flew a friend out to Santa Monica with an engagement ring so he could propose to his wife.

The former footballer asked his pal to make the 5,500-mile journey with the band, which he had designed himself, and ''secretly pass it'' to him, so he could pop the question to TV presenter Christine Lampard in Los Angeles.

He said: ''Romance takes some planning. I proposed to Christine on Santa Monica beach in LA. I even designed the ring myself. But to keep it under wraps I got a friend to fly out and secretly pass it to me at the hotel.

''I then phoned Christine's dad to ask permission - I ended up speaking to her mum but she insisted he'd be happy - and all went to plan.''

Frank married Christine - who he lives with in England - in December 2015 surrounded by their celebrity pals, including his cousin Jamie Redknapp, and the 39-year-old ex-England star has admitted he ''fancies'' his 38-year-old wife ''more and more'' each day.

He said: ''The secret to a good relationship is to keep fancying each other. Christine and I make each other laugh and have fun, but I am sure we fancy each other more and more as time goes on.''

But Frank nearly didn't live to tell his engagement tale because the football pundit has recalled coming close to death once when he choked on part of a trumpet during his younger years.

He added to the Guardian newspaper: ''I swallowed the mouthpiece of a trumpet as a kid. It nearly killed me. I had to go to hospital to have it taken out.''

Christine recently admitted she still fancies Frank and feels ''very lucky'' to be with him, hinting their date nights help to keep their sex life alive.

She said: ''I love the idea of going back to basics. I love my date nights, I love pretending that I'm 18 again. Maybe you get your hair done and I know this sounds really soppy but I'm talking about the little things. We can have one night where it is just us.

''I fancy him very much. I feel very lucky [to be with him]. I just think no matter whether your husband has changed his appearance in the time you've been together, there must be something there that you still fancy.

''That is why I think going back to basics and doing dead simple things and just having a takeaway together. That's what we do. If you can keep that, you can keep everything else ticking along ... if you know what I mean.''