Proof Frank Lampard Is The Best Midfielder Of His Generation & He’s Not Done Yet
A defence of Chelsea legend Frank Lampard following the recent criticism of the midfielder. We look at his career stats and show why he is far from finished as a top level footballer…
First of all, I want to make it crystal clear that I am not among Frank Lampard’s many followers, neither do I consider him in my list of favourite players.
In spite of the aforementioned fact, it is absolutely certain that Frank Lampard is a living legend. Without mincing words, the Englishman epitomizes greatness. The runner up in the 2005 World and European Footballer Of The Year awards (both collected by the magical Ronaldinho Gaucho), three time Chelsea player of the year, two time English player of the year, amongst others is undoubtedly among the finest footballers of his generation.
In recent weeks, questions have been raised for the first time in Frank’s exceptional playing career, about his ability to remain a consistent performer and command a starting shirt for club and country. This was confirmed when Fabio Capello left him out of the starting line-up in the Euro 2012 qualifier v Bulgaria in Sofia. That was the first time in 9 years that had happened. Capello explained his action, pointing out the fact that Lamps was not in form. That is totally acceptable. The Italian coach was applauded for such a bold decision. I was also in support. In my opinion, Frank has never replicated club form for country as he has always been very passive and ordinary in national colours, but for the ‘Blues’, no footballer (except Gianfranco Zola) has been more influential for them in all my years of watching football.
Chelsea became a constant challenger for all the coveted trophies of domestic and European trophies when Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. In fairness, one of the few jewels he met at the London club was Frank Lampard, a player Claudio Ranieri (the thinker man) signed from fellow London side, West Ham United in June 2001 for a bargain of 11 million pounds. He didn’t come unknown as he had already done great things for West Ham, including leading them to 5th position in the 98-99 EPL season (their highest ever). Then 22 years old, played in all Chelsea’s league games in his maiden season (except the ones he was ineligible for) and went on to garner an unbelievable 164 consecutive league appearances (ended December 28, 2005 v Manchester City), beating the records of David James(159) and Wayne Bridge (113-record for an outfield player). His consistency was unreal.
If Ranieri helped Lamps in his transition from a promising player to a good player, then it was Jose Mourinho who totally transformed the Romford born midfield god to the great player that he is today. When the Portuguese replaced the ‘thinker man’ in 2004, he immediately made Lampard a better player, by converting him from a central midfield to an attacking midfielder/support striker, a role which is nicknamed ‘trequartista’ in Italy, ‘enganche’ in Argentina.
It worked perfectly for all those involved with the West Londoners as it automatically coincided with the Club winning its first League title in 50 years, with the impressive Lampard scoring 13 league goals , including the league clinching brace at the Reebok in April. Lampard thrived in his new role as a result of his excellent goal scoring abilities and his astounding vision which was evident in Mou’s first season where he led the EPL assists chart with 16. With Makelele doing the dirty job in midfield, Lampard again made light work of various oppositions in the next season as he improved his goal scoring stats to 16 league goals and 20 in all competitions. Chelsea secured the league title by trouncing Manchester United 3-0 at the Bridge.
Lampard has maintained his remarkable level since then and even the departure of the Portuguese miracle worker didn’t in any way dampen his spirit. He has only scored below 20 goals in a season twice since 2003 (04/05-19,10/11-13). The 10-11 season was poor by his standards because he was out for up to four months with injury. In the 09-10 season, his 27 (22 in the league) goals in all competitions was what inspired Ancelotti’s Chelsea to their 1st league title in 4 years.
Till date, he is the only midfielder that has scored more than 20 league goals in an EPL season. He has broken all sorts of records in the Premier League, scoring four goals in one match on two separate occasions and many more. His 141 EPL goals places him at number 8 in the list of highest goal scorers in its history. He is the only midfielder in that exclusive club and if his amazing scoring record continues, he is tipped to displace Les Ferdinand and Michael Owen (who are joint 5th with 149 strikes) at the end of this season. It is no mean feat.
The lad has been capped 86 times (84 as a Chelsea player) by England and has scored 22 goals including holding the record for the highest conversion of successful penalties (7). You don’t just achieve all these in a week. Your career has to be blessed to amass all these astonishing acquirements. There is no substitute for quality and class is permanent in any great football player. He hasn’t been at his best this season, but as John Terry said when Fabio left Lamps out, ‘you only write him off at your own peril’. He has proven time and again that he can deliver on the big days and I do not foresee anything to the contrary.
If I am to rate the best midfielder in the EPL for the last 10 years, FRANK J. LAMPARD is the outstanding and hands on choice. He has been there and he is still there right among the best footballers in World football typified by his breathtaking goals, eye catching assists and all round play. 171 goals, 110 assists as a blue is enough to convince anyone that his days as a major influence at the Bridge are far from over.
Written by Ohireime Eboreime from www.o-posts.net @OAlmasri
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