For someone who has won almost everything there is to win domestically, and been nominated for the Ballon d’or coming only second to Ronaldinho, who all would agree was a different class of player at the time, Frank Lampard could be more than justified to act like a big time Charlie, or at the very least demand the adulation he deserves from football fans.
Yet here is someone who divides fans more than most players, with the less intelligent football fans amongst us repeating over and over again that Frank Lampard is an over rated, over paid and overweight player, who did not deserve the recognition he has achieved over a long career, does not deserve a place in the national team or the Chelsea midfield and the goals he is renowned for scoring from midfield were merely deflections, lucky shots or penalties. If this is the case, then twenty plus deflections a season must mean Lampard is one of the luckiest players ever to exist on a footballing field.
Lampard broke the record for the highest number of consecutive appearances for an outfield player, and has been ever present in the Chelsea midfield over the last seven seasons – a midfield that under Mourinho was undoubtedly one of the best in the world. When Jose Mourinho arrived at Stamford Bridge, he told Lampard that whilst he was a great player, under his management, he was going to become world class, the complete midfielder. Jose was right, and Lampard has gone on to become a lynch pin in the Chelsea line up, and a major major reason for their success.
Whilst Chelsea fans recognise this, and give Lampard the love and recognition that he deserves, fans of the national team have never quite taken to Lampard, and the player has been made a scapegoat for the failings of the ‘golden generation’ on more than one occasion.
Even the most ardent of Lampard supporters would admit he has never quite delivered his best form for the national team, and there has been a difference from the Lampard seen at Stamford Bridge to the Lampard on display at Wembley. However, this has been the case for many English players, none more so than Liverpool talisman Steven Gerrard, who despite struggling in an England shirt has never been berated and criticised by fans to the same level as Lampard.
There are many who feel that Lampard and Gerrard are too similar to play together and this is the reason why both fail when starting in the same eleven, and if a choice was to be made Gerrard should be the clear victor. Yet when Gerrard has started without Lampard, he has still not shone to the degree expected. The problems England had, and still face are far more complex than managers playing Lampard and Gerrard together, and the attitude, mentality and lack of spirit being huge issues within the national team.