Tuesday night will be one of the proudest moments in Frank Lampard’s career to date. Not one to brag, the educated and articulate player noted that he is more focused on England getting a victory against the Ukraine in their crunch match than he is about reaching 100 caps. Deep down however, Lamps will be bursting with pride, and so he should be.
There has rarely been a player who has worked harder in the face of adversity and simply pulled his socks up and done the best for his team when fans called for his head, booed him and simply treated him in a way unbefitting of a player of his standard – and more than that, his sheer determination and heart to get a result.
Much of his international career has been blighted with allegations of how Lampard should be dropped to make way for Steven Gerrard – and the two have never really clicked in the middle of the park – yet for any player to reach 100 caps, let alone a player during the fans favourite ‘Gerrard era’ is simply astounding.
Lampard has been an ever present for club and country, and quite where you stand on the Lampard v Gerrard debate is irrelevant. Lampard has won every single domestic trophy on offer in the game, and quite frankly the fact he has not won an international trophy is not his fault – no matter how many times we call the up and coming kids the ‘next golden generation’ the issues with the National team are far beyond any one player to fix.
What should be focused on is the fact that Lampard has withstood multiple managers – both for England and Chelsea, been ever present in teams, never succumbed to a lengthy layoff, is not one for silly red cards or suspensions and has a goal scoring rate that is simply astounding for a midfielder.
Jose Mourinho once noted that Frank Lampard was the first name on his team sheet – and is it any wonder? The consummate professional broke Bobby Tambling’s all time top scorer record at Stamford Bridge and showed exactly why Chelsea had to offer him a new deal and allow him to end his career at the club – and now has played over 600 games for the club.
For England, Lampard has 29 goals in 97 appearances, although really it is 30 if we count the one that got away. Yes, there may have been a couple of penalty misses along the way, but that happens to the best of players – just ask Leo Messi when he faces Petr Cech. For those who were wondering, Gerrard has 19 goals in 102 matches so take from that what you wish.
An accusation often thrown at Lampard is the fact that he is a very good player, but is not a world class one. Ask any manager of Lampard’s -bitter AVB aside- and they would beg to differ. More than that, to level the accusation that Lampard, much like Beckham, started out as a mediocre player and put in the hours on the training ground to make himself into what we see today only makes the accuser seem stupid. Even if that were the case – and by his own admission, Lamaprd trains harder than anyone else and fair enough, is not a twinkle toed speedy player, that is to his credit, and massively so. You don’t get the sheer amount of goals he has notched up by being an average player – nor do you time runs into the box with such precision- that is ability alone.
Back in 2009, Frank Lampard was named Premier League player of the decade – and quite rightly too. Yes, there may have been flashier players, but when you consider the sheer amount of titles Chelsea have won – and the pivotal role Lampard has played in winning them, you would be hard pressed to argue against that. Bias aside, it is hard to argue that there been a more influential player for such a sustained period of time over the last ten years. That is not to say players such as Giggs, Ronaldo, Henry, Scholes or even Carragher have not been greats and of course that list could go on and on– but Lampard has broken goal scoring records from midfield and ones for consecutive appearances.
You could claim that the reason the midfielder won so much was due to the money invested and the players brought in to Chelsea but ask yourselves this – how special must Lampard have been to still be starting week in week out when all the riches in the world are at the disposal of which ever Chelsea manager was at the helm at that current time? The answer is that Lampard has simply been the best player in the world in his position over the last decade and is irreplaceable.
Will he ever fully get the credit he deserves? No, potentially not, but he should be allowed to take a moment on Tuesday night and reflect on what he has achieved with England – 100 and not out.
Do you think Lampard is the best of a generation? Comment below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.