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Lampard can reinvent himself at Chelsea

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Simon Austin | 18:05 UK time, Sunday, 25 September 2011

After seeming to have his name written in indelible ink on the Chelsea teamsheet for the past decade, Frank Lampard now finds his place in the side in doubt.

Taken off at half-time against Manchester United, left out against Swansea and with only one goal - a penalty at that - to show for his efforts so far this season, the midfielder no longer appears such a key player at Stamford Bridge.

His future at international level is similarly insecure, after he was demoted to the bench against Bulgaria at the start of the month - the first time in four years that he had not started a competitive match for his country when available.

So, at 33, is he merely a squad player at Chelsea, with £23.5m summer signing Juan Mata now the leading light in midfield?

There's no questioning the contribution Lampard has made to Chelsea since joining from West Ham. Photo: Getty

The very suggestion rankles with Claudio Ranieri, the man responsible for bringing Lampard to Chelsea in June 2001.

"Trust me, Lampard is still a fantastic player," the Italian, who took over as Inter Milan manager last week, told me.

"Maybe at the moment he is not playing as well as he can, but he is still a big part of Chelsea's future.

"His passing, his shooting, his leadership and his intelligence - they all make him a world-class midfielder."

Ranieri persuaded Chelsea to pay West Ham £11m for Lampard 10 years ago. The fee was ridiculed by many at the time, but has proven an absolute steal, with the midfielder going on to score 116 league goals for the club during the most successful period in their history.

And age should not diminish Lampard's ability too much, according to Ranieri.

"Speed has never been a key part of Frank's game and he has always trained hard and kept in excellent condition," added the Italian, who has also led Valencia, Juventus and Roma during a 24-year managerial career.

"He is a dream in training, a real example for all the other players. I see no reason why he shouldn't still be playing at the top level in his mid or even late 30s."

To do this, Lampard is likely to have to change his game though - a process which already seems to be underway.


Frank Lampard's shooting accuracy has declined in recent seasons

At first glance, the player's statistics for this season appear to show a player in decline.

He has scored only one goal, against Norwich, and is having less than a third of the shots per game he did in 2009-10.His shooting accuracy has also declined markedly, with 58% of his attempts finding the target last season, but only 25% so far this term.

But BBC pundit Pat Nevin, twice Chelsea's player of the year in the 1980s, says the stats are actually a result of Lampard changing his role.

Goodbye attacking goalscoring midfielder, hello deeper-lying playmaker.

"Frank is now playing further back and holding the ball, passing neatly and building attacks rather than necessarily finishing them off," Nevin explained.

"People just need to adjust their preconceptions about how he plays."


The adjacent graphic supports this theory. It shows the average position Lampard (number eight) took in the first half of the 3-1 Premier League defeat by Manchester United.

He is deeper than fellow midfielders Juan Mata (10) and Ramires (seven), in a holding role alongside Raul Meireles (16).

In the second half, as Chelsea chased the game, Lampard was withdrawn by manager Villas-Boas and Mata was pushed further up the pitch alongside Fernando Torres (nine), with Nicolas Anelka (39) operating behind the duo.

Nevin says Mata has certainly now taken on Lampard's mantle as Chelsea's foremost attacking midfielder.

"If you play with Torres, you don't play long balls, as Chelsea used to when Didier Drogba was their main striker," said Nevin.

"Torres's angled runs have been exceptional ever since he joined the club, but only now, following Mata's arrival, is there someone to thread balls through to find him.

"That has never been Frank's game and he's having to evolve to find a place in this new side, with its new style of play."

So is the previously prolific Lampard reinventing himself as a deep-lying midfielder, much in the same way Paul Scholes did for Manchester United towards the end of his career?

Nevin thinks so. "Villas-Boas seems to favour a 4-2-3-1 and Frank has the tactical intelligence, vision, passing ability and tackling to be one of those two deep-lying midfielders," he argues.

Coincidentally, this is also the system Fabio Capello has recently favoured for England.

Lampard has said "there's nothing more satisfying in football than proving the critics wrong," and maybe he is about to enjoy that feeling again, for club and country.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Too early to be definitive on Lampard and Chelsea.

    Even if his role is diminished, isn't that just a reality and as long as he is contributing to the football as a whole, then that's ok isn't it?

  • Comment number 2.

    In a nutshell he is been fazed out.

  • Comment number 3.

    There seems to be an awful lot being made of Frank Lampard in the last month or so with his non-selection for a starting XI for England and now him appearing to be not as integral to the Chelsea system as he has been previously. I was wondering whether the reference to Paul Scholes was ever going to be made who similarly had to adapt his game due to him physically not being able to consistently reproduce the well-timed runs from midfield which brought about so many goals.

    Chelsea are undergoing a bit of a change in terms of their style of play and that means Lampard is also going to have to adapt.

    He has been one of the best attacking midfielders in this country (if not further afield in my opinion) over the last decade; and I feel he will still have a role to play for both club and country when needed; albeit a role that isn't immediately associated with him.

    The difficulty for Lampard is that he has built a reputation of goalscoring midfielder; arriving late into the penalty box and excelling when accompanied by a more defensive minded player in midfield. Although his fitness levels and sharpness may be called into question, the experience and 'know-how' he has cannot. I've never expected Lampard to drive a game forward from a deeper position (although we have seen Beckham and Gerrard both take on this role previously), although I am sure it is a challenge he will relish, it is only natural that Chelsea, and England, become much less reliant on him as younger players mature and the respective styles of play alter; but I wonder why the media has made such a big issue out of something that naturally was always going to happen... it will also happen to Steven Gerrard, John Terry, Wayne Rooney etc over time.

    http://thethoughtsofphil.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 4.

    ok, maybe he has to change his game for Chelsea and may fit in. But he should never be near the England side now, there are players who play that position week in week out and are not learning to change their game. And are better then him in that position. Chelsea bit part Player. England No-part player

  • Comment number 5.

    Lampard should have been dropped from England years ago, whilst doing well for Chelsea, he has consistently been one of our worst performers.

    Maybe this was who Torres was referring to when he said the midfield was slow - all he does his side pass or back pass.

  • Comment number 6.

    Is it not a fact that he's just getting a little older and slower...he need's to either adapt like scholes did for mu or knock it on the head I think! he has undoubted quality but maybe need's to change his game to allow him a prolonged career....agree with above though, think his England days are numbered. great servant to Chelsea and England and probably still has a bit left in the tank. great pro

  • Comment number 7.

    I've always had the impression that a significant amount of his goals have come from penalties, as apposed to open play. As for providing assists, he seems pretty average (in the context of the good and the greats of his generation). I was always a Gerard 'chooser' over Lampard for England admittedly. Although I think he could still have a part to play, I think Chelsea need to shed some of the old skin and move to the future, likewise with England. He shouldn't even be in the England squad at all.

  • Comment number 8.

    I am an Arsenal fan, and over the past 9 years or so , I have had nothing but the utmost respect for Monsieur Lampard.

    However, nothing lasts forever. Even the best runs eventually close out some day. Let's not get ahead of ourselves by over-analysing Lampard's case. The best players in the game eventually wane, and ultimately fade. At 33, it is perhaps a good time for him to go earn some solid, hard retirement cash in the UAE or Qatar.

    It was great while the spark lasted.

  • Comment number 9.

    He is less effective than he was, but hey, he's 33, there is no shame in that whatsoever. He's been a great player for Chelsea throughout his career.=, England less so. But in any case he can look on his career with pride. I'm not a Chelsea fan, but I would get some younger, quicker players in the middle to feed Torres. As a City fan I can not overstate how spoilt I feel having a player like Silva in the middle feeding the strikers. If Torres had a similar player feeding him at Chelsea we'd see a different player (maybe his Spain form contradicts this though...). Mata seems to be stepping up to the service Torres requires. Alonso used to do it at Liverpool for him. It's a bit premature to Judge Lamps just yet, (anyone remember Rooney last year??) but at 33 maybe he needs to take a more complementary role (much like Vieira did for us last season) and inject experience in a supportive capacity.

  • Comment number 10.

    Im not sure what the fuss is about. Every Chelsea fan (myself inculded) knows he is a legend, and knows he will be around for a good few seasons, but at 33+ any player would be expected to decline somewhat in his abilities. He will change his style of play, and im sure we will see him play a lot of games for Chelsea this season, as well as lend his experience on the training ground to the whole host of young talent at the club. But no player can escape their age, ultimately it is inevitable he will reach retirement.

  • Comment number 11.

    Im a tottenham fan and the comparison with Scholes is laughable. When Pep Guardiola was asked who he would have in his team from United it was Scholes due to the time he made for himself on the ball, Scholes never used to misplace passes.

    Lampard can never do what Scholes did as Paul was one of the best technical players to come out of England in the last 20 years, his decision making was amazing. Lampard's passing is not accurate enough and he takes too long on the ball and very rarely plays defence splitting passes. He is far too selfish in regard to his own performance, which is why his decisions are terrible and that is maybe because Lampard has only ever been rated on the number of goals he scores. When he doesn't score the media get on his back.

    There are so many times in a game when Lampard can put others through but shoots from 30 yards plus, if you work the percentages, the likelihood of him scoring is not very high ( how many 30 yarders does one score in a lifetime let alone a season?). Also he stated at the start of the season that the moment he is told to not cross the halfway line he will stop, so i do not see it happening. The team has to be based around him for him to excel and he may need to move to a lesser club for this to happen.

  • Comment number 12.

    "Goodbye attacking goalscoring midfielder, hello deeper-lying playmaker"

    6ft under. its time he retires before he finds wearing his pants on the outside of his shorts.

  • Comment number 13.

    No need to say what club you support before commenting, it doesn't matter.

  • Comment number 14.

    Frank is a great professional and he has been at the centre of Chelsea's success over the last decade. The statistics don't lie - ground covered; passes; assists and goals scored, both for Chelsea and England. If he is coming to the end of his playing career, lets not knock him but show some respect for a very good player.

    By the way, although he takes penalties, the greatest proportion of his goals at his peak, came from open play.

  • Comment number 15.

    I believe (and have for some time) that it is time for the (g)OLD(en) generation to hang up there international football boots. Ferdinand, Terry, Lampard, Gerrard all need to stand aside to allow the England team to be remodelled.

    Instead of focusing on a wealth of experience, turn it on its head. Throw the youth in together from an early point and let them bond before the Euros. Who genuinely believes that Lampard and Gerrard will be at the Euros? No-one. So why rely on them in the qualifying. At which point we will have a team at the Euros who have never played together before

    Take Phil Jones, Smalling, Cleverly and Welbeck at Utd, Sturridge at Chelsea, Danny Rose at Spurs, Kelly at Liverpool (& many more), throw them in at the deep end with the likes of Ashley Cole, Rooney etc to help guide them and you've got a strong team built around top players. This would change the focus from a slower paced experienced team to one built around agility, pace and stamina.

    Many will probably disagree but that's my 2 Cents.

  • Comment number 16.

    I spout football stats and detail - The Motty of York Shire County, so forgive the ingenue post.
    'Fat Frank' started up as a nickname for Mr Lampard for a reason. On the International stage he's never shown up and Chelsea want to win that elusive Champions League. He's 33 years young, bulky, slow and missing his touch in front of goal. Tottenham bound with Uncle Harry me thinks - January window with Modric going the other way. That way Lamps is in work when his missus Ms Bleakley is lost in her Daybreak shakeup.

  • Comment number 17.

    Lampard is going to be Chelsea's Andre Pirlo.

    KTBFFH

  • Comment number 18.

    13. At 17:47 27th Sep 2011, Collynzo3 wrote:
    No need to say what club you support before commenting, it doesn't matter.

    ----------------------------

    I'm a Man City fan and I disagree :-p

  • Comment number 19.

    I support Mint Club Biscuits

    Lampard is still a good player, slight dip in form and willnever be as good as the 2009/10 days but most people will say he still has lots to offer.

    Gerrard Vs Lampard anyone? :)

  • Comment number 20.

    19. At 17:51 27th Sep 2011, signori wrote:
    I support Mint Club Biscuits

    Lampard is still a good player, slight dip in form and willnever be as good as the 2009/10 days but most people will say he still has lots to offer.

    Gerrard Vs Lampard anyone? :)

    ----------------------

    Brilliant! ..... Wilshere please :)

  • Comment number 21.

    If Lampard is Spurs bound, which I believe he is, he could easily turn his career around., it would only take a few good games and the bandwagon would be facing the other way and he'd be completely necessary for England.

    I agree that we should build a young England squad, but it's foolish writing off all of the golden generation, they have a lot of experience (albeit in losing at international tournaments) and leadership. I think the key is balance, keep JT, Lamps and maybe Stevie G to steady the ship whilst the younger players find their feet

  • Comment number 22.

    Of course his role will be diminished in his later years.

    How many players of his age who have been playing in the Premier League for as long as he has are still guarenteed a starting role? Or even regular football?

    When Bergkamp was in his later years at Arsenal, Giggs now at United all play/ed a much smaller role. And its even harder today with so many games being played.

    Lampard still has the quality to do the job at Chelsea.

    At International level I don't think so.

    With Wilshere emerging both Gerrard and Lampard are looking more and more obsolete. Wilshere does not fit in alongside any of those two players and with the England midfield more than likey to revolve around Wilshere its time the quality youngsters such as Cleverly get the chance to gel before the Euro's.

    New blood is needed and it will be welcome at International level.

  • Comment number 23.

    I don't believe Lampard can change his game like Scholes did, or how Gerrard maye have to because he doesn't have the passing range.

    Gerrard is perfectly comfortable holding in front of the back four and spraying cross pitch passes to the wingers, Lampard can't do this and thrived on through plays and speeding into the box, which he isn't able to do any more.

  • Comment number 24.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 25.

    Club someone supports doesn't come into it, unless they are a hater ro wear blinkers. The fact is that Lampard (and Gerrard to an extent) have never performed anything like as well for their country as they each have done for their clubs.

    At 33, if Lampard goes to next summer's Euro Championship, he'll be going as a squad member, not a starter. Personally, I don't think he will make the 23 who are selected.

    His future at CFC is also looking distinctly short term. His unwillingness to challenge was the main contributory factor to the first two goals CFC conceded at Old Trafford. Do not mention the offside. We know there were players in offside positions but not one of the 25 people on the pitch noticed them at the time Frank was bottling the challenges. (They were only complained about by AVBafter he had seen a stack of replays). Add this to his age and his slowing down and there are probably a lot of sensible CFC fans who are thinking that they should've flogged him off during the summer. Certainly, that is the consensus amongst the CFC in my local!

    The old line needs to be remembered, there is no player bigger than the club, Frank's time is up!

  • Comment number 26.

    #24,

    Never the fittest? Frank has perennially been one of the fittest players in the English game. I agree he has never been the fastest, but everyone who has ever seen him train will tell you that he is first to show up, last to leave, and constantly putting in the extra time.

    I do, however, believe that his injury from last year will see the end of his career prematurely. He admitted last year that he doesn't think his injury will actually heal completely, and he is constantly having to deal with the repercussions of it. He should setp away from the national team, and accept that his role will be as a squad player with Chelsea for the most part. He still has much to offer...

  • Comment number 27.

    Why was my post sent to moderation? There was absolutely nothing wrong with any of it. No bad language or unacceptable slurs, etc.

  • Comment number 28.

    Many players have to adjust either due to change of manger club or formation, what's new in that, apart from it being Frank Lampard.
    There have been several comments posted comparing Lampard with other exceptional midfielders like Scholes and Gerrard, but too many not giving him him the credit he deserves, spend a little time and check out the stats for assists for instance.

  • Comment number 29.

    Ok, never mind. So this blog is actually proactively moderated to a certain extent, as well as reactively...

  • Comment number 30.

    The media are so thick and stupid.

    Lampard is playing less. That's why his stats look worse. If he was playing more... then he will be scoring more of his world famous deflected shots.

    Chelsea are looking to the future, thats why he's playing less. Not because he's necessarily in decline... because he always has lacked pace and looked fat.

  • Comment number 31.

    It has always angered me the opinion the public have of Frank Lampard, such a brilliant professional and excellent role model for our younger generation. Yet people have the cheek to boo him at England games, that must be very hurtful for anyone who gives 110% to the cause every time they step over the white line.

    Lampard has been without doubt one of the best midfielder's in the world over many years. Statistically nobody compares his goals from midfield is second to none. As for the people who say he has preformed poorly for his country I totally disagree, if you go back to euro 2004 he was one of England's best players in the tournament. Yes he didn't have the best of world cups after that but in the previous one again he played well and was prehaps the only player to show up against Germany.

    He is probably Englands best penalty taker and you can garentee no matter what the situation Frank will be the first player to pick the ball up and offer to take one.

    As for his Chelsea carrier hes been a Chelsea grate right up there with the best Chelsea and the premiere leagues best. He has set record after record which will take some beating (games played consecutively, goals scored by a midfielder in 1 season) People also forget he was ounce second only to ronaldiniho in world player of the year.

    Surly it is too early to right Lampard off just 5 games into a new season. Yes he hasn't found form yet but I still believe there is still more to come from Frank for both club and country. However if this turns out not to be the case surly at 33 it is time for England to appreciate and applaud such a fine servant to English football a true grate who we have all had the pleasure of watching week in week out a player who statistically nobody compares, not Gerrard not Scholes nobody.

  • Comment number 32.

    Can we not just let Frank fade into obscurity? The man was always hugely overrated as a player. He was lucky to be surrounded by quality players at Chelsea. For England, he's always been a liability, to the detriment of Gerard and Beckham. His inclusion almost certainly was the reason behind Scholes premature retirement from international football.

    If Frank is off, can he take Terry with him? He's another example of a grossly overrated clogger.

  • Comment number 33.

    Lampard is Chelsea's best ever player.

    His consistency over the years has been phenomenal. 20+ goals per season almost every season and hardly ever misses games through injury. In fact his first long lay off last season because of injury started all this ridiculous talk about him being finished.

    Journalists love a "story" and they all copy each other, until it's said so much it almost sounds like the truth.

    Watching frank Lampard is like watching a Rolls-Royce amongst Fords and Vauxhalls in some games. When he receives the ball he already has a complete picture of what's going on around him and what he wants to do with it.

    Non-Chelsea fans don't see enough of him to appreciate what he brings to the team, he's famous for late runs into the box and being a high scoring midfielder, but what is not so immediately apparent to those who don't watch him regularly is his more unspectacular work in knitting the midfield together and enabling the team to retain possession.

    For example, even this season, he came on against Bayer Leverkusen after about 60 minutes when it was 0-0 with Chelsea seemingly unable to keep the ball against their high-tempo, athletic opponents.

    After Lampard's arrival Chelsea soon started to control the midfield, keep possession better, take control of the game and ran out 2-0 winners.

    He's always been very fit type of player and there's no reason he cannot carry on at the top level for another three years.

    Villas-Boas has already proved himself to be keen on extensive rotation of the squad and with Lampard now into his 30's he won't be guaranteed a starting place as he has been in the past, but that now applies to every player.

    But talk of him being finished as a top-level player at 33 is laughable.

  • Comment number 34.

    I was at the game on Saturday and when I heard the team sheet being read out it felt strange seeing Lamps on the subs list. Strange only because he's been one of the first on the starting XI for the past 10 years and has been an integral part of the Chelsea spine. Strange but necessary because Chelsea are a team in transition and AVB made it clear when he took the job that no player would be guaranteed a place in the starting line-up. You cannot play someone on reputation alone, if they have not been as effective as they once were then change is absolutely necessary.

    As usual the anti-Lampard brigade come down on him like a tonne of bricks as if he is some kind of failure. People in this country need to grow up and learn to be a bit more objective, instead of calling him fat and using any excuse to have a dig at him. Football fans have such short memories and don't seem to remember how good he was for England back in Euro 2004. He alone is not responsible for England's repeated failure since the World Cup in 2006. Collectively we are not good enough and the sooner these idiots realise that the better. Wilshere does deserve to be ahead of him now because both England and Chelsea have been crying out for a fresh way of approaching games.

    The comparison to Paul Scholes is indeed laughable because Lampard can actually tackle!

  • Comment number 35.

    As a chelsea fan and owner of two shirts with 'Lampard' on the back, you have to admit that it seems unlikely lamps will become a first team regular again. The new-look chelsea side should be built around youth and pace, embodied by the likes of ramires, mata and sturridge for a style of play geared towards getting the best out of torres. At the moment, my midfield would be mikel holding, until we get a better player, with ramires and meireles further forward.

    This might be the case now he's 33, but when you consider his past acheivements, the anti-lampard brigade is baffling - consistently scoring 20 goals-a-season and being voted 2nd best player in the world in 2005 - not bad for 'fat frank'.

    funny how people bring out the lampard-scholes comparison so quickly - chelsea fans know who they'd pick every time

  • Comment number 36.

    >"The fact is that Lampard (and Gerrard to an extent) have never performed anything like as well for their country as they each have done for their clubs."


    True enough. But you could say the same thing about virtually every English player of the last twenty years. By definition they do well for their clubs - they would not be in the national side otherwise. But very few English players have excelled on the international stage.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    Lampard is old, be a patriot but realistic one!!

  • Comment number 39.

    #36 Funnily enough Twirlip you are wrong. Can you explain to me why Peter Crouch's record for his country is a millions miles better than his club record? Or why Robbie Keane does so much better for the RoI than any club that he has played for?

    Gerrard's problem is that he can't tackle cleanly. Lampard's is that he just can't/or won't tackle!

    Both are clearly yesterday's men but CFC held onto Lamps for one season too long! LFC will probably realise the same thing by next August!

  • Comment number 40.

    >"Funnily enough Twirlip you are wrong. Can you explain to me why Peter Crouch's record for his country is a millions miles better than his club record? Or why Robbie Keane does so much better for the RoI than any club that he has played for?"


    I don't think you read what I wrote before responding. Robbie Keane does not play for England, and I spoke about ENGLAND, not the world in general.

    And I said that "very few English players have excelled on the international stage". Very few is not the same thing as "none".

    As for Crouchies record in internationals. it has not been that good. In fairness to him he's never the first choice striker for England, so perhaps it can be said that he does well in the limited opportunities he gets. But he tends to get goals in qualifiers against Andorra or in friendlies rather than in the Euro Cup or World Cup proper.

  • Comment number 41.

    He was good, but no one can be that good forever. From what I have seen of Mata he is the way to go, Frank has been off form for a while now.

    Not really a blog worth reading, every player fades, do we want to be reminded of it?

  • Comment number 42.

    Frank Lampard is one of the most arrogant self-centred players to ever play football. If one of his team mates produces an amazing pass for him to score a tap in he celebrates alone as if he has produced and scored the most brilliant goal ever without ever thanking the player who passed to him. The notion that he could reinvent himself as a playmaker further down the pitch is laughable.

  • Comment number 43.

    I've always had the impression that a significant amount of his goals have come from penalties, as apposed to open play. As for providing assists, he seems pretty average (in the context of the good and the greats of his generation).

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm fairly sure Lampard is the second highest assist maker in Premiership history, narrowly behind Giggs who's played significantly more games. That's far, far more than 'average'.

  • Comment number 44.

    Frank Lampard is one of the most arrogant self-centred players to ever play football. If one of his team mates produces an amazing pass for him to score a tap in he celebrates alone as if he has produced and scored the most brilliant goal ever without ever thanking the player who passed to him. The notion that he could reinvent himself as a playmaker further down the pitch is laughable.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So you're judging Lampard's character on an incorrect observation of his goal celebrations? Incredible.

  • Comment number 45.

    Few matches and some goals is all lamp's needs to shut all. Bad form for 6-7 matches doesn't mean the end of his career. Having seen him play for years i know for a fact that he will give 100% to CFC whether by playing deep or by his runs in the box.

  • Comment number 46.

    It's funny how the negative comments here fall back on all the old predictable criticisms of Lampard's game (though the 'never been fit' one is remarkably inaccurate).

    There's definitely too much being made of the whole situation anyway. As many have said, it's hardly a rarity for a player to decline at the age of 33. The reason I think Lampard's spell at the top will end more abruptly than the likes of Scholes or Gerrard is because he is more traditionally 'box-to-box' than those players, who are more about distribution. Thus I don't think he'll be particularly effective as a deep-lying playmaker. The reason he's done so well for so long has been his incredible fitness levels, and I think the injury at the start of last season disrupted the incredible momentum he'd built up playing in almost every game for however many years. He's clearly not been the same player since.

    I'm not surprised people in certain circles are reveling in his decline - people have always liked having a go at him and I've never really known why - but he has been an honest professional who compared to a lot of players at the top is quite understated in his lifestyle choices - in fact the main 'gossip' reasons he's turned up in the papers really have been due to the breakdown of his relationship (after which he gained a lot of respect for calling that talk-show host live on air to defend himself re seeing his children etc.) and the death of his mother. As a Chelsea fan, I hope he stays at the club in some capacity when his playing career ends, and he is able to guide younger players with his professionalism.

    In regards to England, I agree that he's never performed as well as he has for Chelsea. Whilst I agree with people saying he was excellent around the 2004-2006 period, that isn't much considering he's been a major part of the England set up for a decade. For a couple of years I've been hoping he'd be dropped/retire from international football, so that Chelsea can get the most out of him as he nears the end of his career.

    I think we can get 10 goals out of him this year in all competitions. Considering most people talk about '20 goal a season strikers', and he's managed this from midfield for so long, that's still a good contribution from a midfielder.

  • Comment number 47.

    So you're judging Lampard's character on an incorrect observation of his goal celebrations? Incredible.

    -

    Why is this inacurrate? Find me footage of Lampard immediately turning to a team mate to thank him and not immediately running off in the opposite direction arms stretched for the fans adulation.

  • Comment number 48.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 49.

    Time catches up with all of us I'm afraid.
    At 33 I think Lampard will have to accept he will only br a squad player for both club and country.

    Mata supporting Torres from midfield is the future now for Chelsea.
    Just like Lampard did for Drogba.

    Must add, great player at his peak. Never let England down.

  • Comment number 50.

    Still a great player but time is catching up and there are good young players coming through and sooner or later one of them will replace him in the team. Still an excellent professional both in skill and attitude.

  • Comment number 51.

    So based on his goal celebration he's arrogant, taking this amazing analysis method forward what does Shearers goal clebration of running off with one arm raised say about him, get real.
    I think you will probably find Lampard also changed his goal celebration after the sudden death of his mother, what would you read into that.

    The fact is he is a very talented player, been a great servernt to club and country and has been picked on merit (by lets face it a lot of different managers) over many years, but is nearing the end of his career, not just starting out.

  • Comment number 52.

    Seems awfully strange how people say lampard has been englands worst performer for years, when he was voted englands best player 2 years on the trot not so long ago?
    You people read the press too much, lampard was poor against united, very very poor and so was dropped, hes also dropped anelka and torres so far as well as sturridge.
    Stop fussing.

  • Comment number 53.

    The Chelsea stats of an "unfit" player who "doesn't set-up chances" -

    Apps. Goals. Assists.
    2001-02 53 7 3
    2002-03 48 8 2
    2003-04 56 15 6
    2004-05 58 19 16
    2005-06 51 20 9
    2006-07 63 21 15
    2007-08 40 20 11
    2008-09 57 20 19
    2009-10 51 27 20
    2010-11 32 13 6

    Obviously a completely over-rated player then.

  • Comment number 54.

    Apps. Goals. Assists.
    2001-02 53 7 3
    2002-03 48 8 2
    2003-04 56 15 6
    2004-05 58 19 16
    2005-06 51 20 9
    2006-07 63 21 15
    2007-08 40 20 11
    2008-09 57 20 19
    2009-10 51 27 20
    2010-11 32 13 6

    Obviously a completely over-rated player then.

    ----------------


    Overrated. His passing range is severely limited, his shooting accuracy is much lower than Scholes', his assist record will never be close to that of Giggs and in his best ever season 09-10 a massive 11 out of the 27 goals were penalties a record number of 10 PL penalties scored.

    12 goals from open play in 36 PL matches from 109 shots isn't bad, but he is not and has never been worldclass.

  • Comment number 55.

    Just watch, he'll play 90 minutes in the next 10 games and bang in 5 goals...

  • Comment number 56.

    I've always thought he was a donkey.

  • Comment number 57.

    frank is a class player who is having a dip in form and is adapting to another new manager at chelsea. paul scholes never had to adapt to this at manchester

    this golden generation for england just does not exist they have done nothing and acheived nothing. the golden generation was 1966

    forget the euros and blood these young players for 2014 for once lets take aleaf out of germanys books and do long term actions. not fail and talk about it.

  • Comment number 58.

    Should of been dropped from the England squad years ago.

  • Comment number 59.

    Yes Lambard has been a machine for Eng. and Chelsea for quite some time agree. This has always been the cause of Chelsea's set back the Management taking decisions about geting new good guys in the squad. I remember a statement made by Coach AVB in an interview, " BLAME THE MANAGEMENT FOR THE CLUB'S SET BACK NOT THE COACH". We can't turn the hand of the clock when it's 33 PM you better buy a new clock insteard of making your self look like a full telling your guest, " look at my beautiful clook I baught long-ago despite the fact its not keeping time. Its time we look forward for a new Lampard if we must win tophys.

  • Comment number 60.

    But new Lampards don't exactly grow on trees do they? It will be Chelsea's biggest challenge in the coming years to fill the void left by Lampard IMO.

  • Comment number 61.

    Mmmm only worth a comment if you're a) a Chelsea fan or b) understand football. FL is without doubt a great player but - understandaby - as age takes it's toll he will become less relevant to both Chelsea and England.
    As many have said, if you can't accept how good he has been for both club and country then save your derisory comments which are fundamentally wrong on all levels.

  • Comment number 62.

    U13778349

    Could we please have scholes shooting accuracy and giggs assist rate then please and compare?
    and wow compare him to two players perceived as greats, the fact that your comparing him to scholes and giggs even suggests that lampard has been fantastic.
    Most goals ever for a midfield player in the premier league, penaltys or not is a massive achievement.
    Aswell as this you talk about shooting accuracy when ronaldos was atrocious yet he scored loads and got praised for it, if you dont buy the ticket you wont win the raffle, and lampard for 10 years has been in the right place at the right time.

  • Comment number 63.

    Right to appreciate Frank Lampard you have to A Be A Chelsea Blue B Understand Football C Read his Book.Every football club would love A Frank Lampard he wasn't gifted sheer hard work and graft has got him where he is today.Everyone gets older a little slower he would quite like being compared to Scholes and Giggs.If you never went to a Chelsea or England game but knew the score don't be surprised to see Frank Lampard on the scoresheet.Frank was never ever really appreciated at West Ham and that really gets my goat because West Ham moulded Frank and just because his dad was their many so called fans thought he got picked because of this.Turned out Chelsea appreciated him more Thank God we are not so fickle Frank still has alot more mileage in the tank yet write him off at your peril!

  • Comment number 64.

    Lampard needs to know he will be used more as a substitute rather that starting at the beginning of the match for Chelsea this season. Chelsea bought players to replace his place in the starting lineup and they are the ones who going to place at his position throughout this season and in the future.

  • Comment number 65.

    Chelsea fan here.
    He has abeen a fantastic player for us over the years and yes (like a lot of the 'golden' Man U players!!) has consistently underachieved for England.
    But so what? Time waits for no man.
    What is REALLY THE POINT is where is the 606 forum? This is where this chat should be don't you think.
    I used to love the constructive, harmonious, hatred and abuse on there!!!!
    Lobby the BBC now - all of you!
    Post: BRING BACK 606!!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    Did anyone saying lamps can't pass not watch the 2007 fa cup final and lamps's ball for drogba's goal? Not bad for someone who supposedly can't pass. Didn't see scholes getting an assist in that game.

  • Comment number 67.

    im a chelsea fan and even i admit it a bit unfair to compare lampard to scholes and giggs as them two are world class and lampard is in the very good bracket

    ask all the greats what they think of scholes and they will tell you

    back to lampard i think he been a really good player for us over the last 10 years i dont deny that however we need to move on from him

    i wonder if it was him torres was referring to ie too slow

    lampard loves being the king of his jungle i want to take the penalties free kicks corners shoot from thirty yards out when theres a much better option ie pass to a team mate

    we been much better without him recently getting balls into the penalty area through passing on the floor our pace has been quicker generally speaking people like mata are our future lampard does slow things down and often shoot from thirty odd yards

    avb being very diplomatic im glad he showing guts i wouldnt be surprised if this is lampards final season here

    yes hes scored lots of goals for us no doubt about forty per cent penalties and free kicks but lets move on now

    dont like the way he walked down the tunnel after not being brought on as a substitute against swansea

    avb is the manager not any of the players if avb feels we better without lampard on the pitch that his right let the manager manage

  • Comment number 68.

    it might sound like i hate lampard i dont im just calling it like i see it

    that man city player yesterday djeko gets criticised for the way he reacted after being substituted fair enough but someone please tell me the difference between being on the substitute bench and not being brought on and storming off down the tunnel like lampard when the final substitution was made against swansea and the way djeko reacted

    i cant see any difference both were wrong totally wrong managers get paid handsome wages to do one thing that is manage their football team

    im interested to see if avb chooses lampard tonight and if not then what his reaction will be

    and if he does react adversely will the press pick up on it like if it was a foreigner ie djeko

  • Comment number 69.

    History will shelf him right next to Ibrahimovic, Denilson, Vieri, Henry and Kluivert...on the "It Took Us A While To Realise He's Mediocre" shelf.

  • Comment number 70.

    I have'nt bothered to read this article as i think the answer is clear, Fact Lampard is coming to the end of his career, leaves with some options, one retire from international football to prolong club career, adjust the way he plays to accomadate the team, seens this with giggs, shearer, scholes, etc!

    Dont write him off yet!

  • Comment number 71.

    I remember when Chelsea signed Lampard, I was hugely disappointed that we paid 11 Million for such an average player. But I was proved wrong - not because he turned out to be the most talented player, but because he has always been the most professional player. Every manager to have worked with him talks about what a dream he is to work with and how he trains like no other player. He has made the absolute most of the talents he possessed. He was never the most skillful, or the fastest - but he worked as hard as any other player in the league. He never, ever gave up, and every player around him knew that while he was playing we always had a chance.

    I've never understood opposition fans hatred of Lampard. I would have thought he would be a shining example to all of us that anyone can make it to the top if we worked hard enough. Perhaps that's what bothers people - that he is an example of what we could have achieved had we had his drive. We treat the top players as gods, and maybe Lampard didn't fit that image because he is just a regular likeable, smart unassuming guy, who made the most of his, arguably, limited talents.

    In years gone by I felt a sense of confidence whenever I read the Chelsea team sheet with Lampard's name on there. Now, however, I have to admit a sense of trepidation when I see his name on the team sheet. At 33 he no longer has that aura of invincibility. Maybe it's time for him to offer part time assistance when necessary - not such a bad way to end your career. He still made the most of what he had, and will always be a hero to Chelsea fans.

  • Comment number 72.

    Maybe I'm missing something, but Nevin seems to be talking an absolute load of cobblers. Does he watch Chelsea? Mata is not taking Frank's old role as the foremost attacking midfielder, maybe I misinterpreted this comment, but if so, the blogger should qualify it, although I sense he hasn't done his homework either. Frank was never a number 10 type attacker, he just made timely runs into the box, but he covered the whole pitch. Mata is taking Malouda's role as a second striker/winger, but with actual play-making ability. Villas-Boas doesn't prefer 4-2-3-1 based on anything I've seen so far. He'll switch to it when warranted, but clearly prefers 4-3-3.

  • Comment number 73.

    Most fans are bigotted and see what they expect to see; last England match, Lampard vilified, but those who were actually watching will have seen him involved in most of England's creativity and tackling back. Same with the 'Fat Frank' jibes. Never has he been overweight but has a square face like his dad. If you're a moron you interpret this as him being fat. You then extrapolate that he must be unfit-as posted above he's been one of the fittest players in the premier league for a decade. I hardly ever get to games but read a lot of reports. Up until last season when he was injured, he was rated Man of the Match by independent observers on a regular basis. I don't know if he's got more to contribute. But he's a consumate professional.

  • Comment number 74.

    Lampard was runner up in World Player of theYear 2005 behind Ronaldinho and ahead of Et'o.

    That is voted for by international managers and captains.

    Overseas football people as well as all the managers he's played under respect him far more than people in his country who for some reason have always had it in for him.

    Why do we love to knock succesful people down so much - maybe it's a jealousy thing.

    Lampard is an extremely talented player and a consumate professional.

  • Comment number 75.

    Well the guy's 33 and you'd suspect this is his last chance to win the Champions League but you can't fault him for his application and effort to when he has played. What I'd have loved to have seen is FL moving abroad (same with Scholes, Giggs and Shearer as well as maybe Ferdinand and/or Neville) to bring from Europe the skills that their leagues have to built a better England side but that's me probably being a little bit selfish.

  • Comment number 76.

    2nd most assists in PL history 86 assits. But he has never been a creative player...
    8th most goals in PL history.
    Good scoring record in Champions League and international football.
    Scored in CL final and played in numerous CL semi finals.

    The main criticisms of the man, apart from the inane 'fat frank' drivel, are that he has been carried by those around him, is not as good as Paul Scholes or Gerrard and never reproduced for England. I shall address these points in order.

    1) Mourinho, Hiddink, Scolari, Ranieri and Ancelotti. Do these men know anything about football? I think they might. Lampard was integral to all of their Chelsea teams, who reached numerous CL/FA cup finals, semi finals and finished 1st or second in the PL 7 years running. At that level can teams really afford to be carrying a player? Who the above managers not have dispensed with him if he was not pulling his weight? I think we can safely assume they do. Unless the airmchair managers know more than Mourinho etc??

    2) Often it is unfairly levelled at Lampard he is not as good as Scholas/Gerrard. Even if this were immediately true, which is debatable, then so? Rooney is not as good as Ronaldo, and Ronaldo is not as good as Messi, but does that make them poor players? I dont think it does. Lampard has acheived as much as Gerrard, if not more. Gerrard just fits the mould of an undisciplined Roy of the Rovers figure much more than Lampard. Scholes is one of the finest players of the last 20 years. At his peak he was better than Lampard, but after 2003/04 Lampard was the man. If Scholes was so superior then why didnt he keep Lampard out of the team?

    3) after Euro 04 I will admit he hasnt been brilliant for England, but then who has? Rooney, Gerrard? What have they done better than Lampard? The failure of England is multidimensional, and Lampards underperformance is a syptom, not a cause, of the problem.

    Now sit back and enjoy

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 77.

    Thanks for your comments everyone, very interesting.
    So quite a response from Lampard last night!
    He has always seemed to draw strong responses, a lot of them negative.
    As #74 onenessuk says, he has been one of the best/ most influential English players of his generation.
    The stats speak for themselves - 22 goals in 88 England games, twice England's player of the year, second in world player of the year...
    I just think he's going to have to get used to being used more sparingly at Chelsea, and taking on a new, deeper role in the side.
    Mata is clearly first choice as the most attacking midfielder in the side now.

  • Comment number 78.

    Lampard is right where he belongs for club and country on the bench, as a super sub type player. He is no longer the future and new players need to start getting the chance so they will be ready when Lampard retires in a year or two.
    Raineri is not the man to ask he's an old school Italian coach, the game is different there. Their players sometimes play until their 40. He was good in his time just never really came through for the national team like he did for his club.Probably not his fault, or was it?

  • Comment number 79.

    I think that Frank has been Chelsea's most important player for the last decade for the reasons outlined at 76. Twenty goals a season from midfield, 5th highest premiership scorer, most premiership assists. In addition to all those chelsea managers who picked him Fergusan has always praised him highly. I am sure he will continue to contribute for chelsea and he is only 40 goals away from being our top all time scorer.

    Englands problems at the last two world cups were not down to Lampard, or indeed Gerrard, Ferdinald, Rooney. To have a golden generation you need a team of great players plus substitues. England are never going to challenge at the top level with no goalkeeper, no right back, no forward other than Rooney and the likes of Milner, Barry Crouch, Wrigh Phillips and Defoe. That was the international problem not Rooney.

  • Comment number 80.

    At least Lampard wasn't involved in Chelsea's latest slap in the face to the RESPECT campaign...
    Lampard should be back in the side for the next European encounter because Mata and Cole should be banned.
    Lucky for Chelsea that the media are obsessed with Carlos Tevez and Manchester City...

  • Comment number 81.

    Didn't even bother reading the blog because the title indicates how ridiculous it would be. No he doesn't need to reinvent himself, he is probably the most prolific goalscoring centre midfielder in Europe for the past 6-7 years and he was still scoring before then. As a Liverpool fan If we could have swapped Lampard for Gerrard 7 years ago I would have been happy. This guys level of consistency is nothing short of spectacular. This blog holds no credit at all, AVB is simply creating a new system at Chelsea right now and when he learns about Lampard and what he does he'll be back in the team every week.

  • Comment number 82.

    They're all squad players and only as good as their last game. AVB will rotate the midfield just as he has the attack and defence. Due to their age Lampard and Drogba will no doubt play less this year to keep them fresh. The column inches devoted to Lampard are extraordinary and unjustified - I don't remember all this fuss when Scholes was benched.

  • Comment number 83.

    As a United fan, i would point to Paul Scholes as an example. As Lampard gets older he's bound to play less games but as long as he contributes in those games i'd be happy.

  • Comment number 84.

    jojo - Giggs is NOT World Class, sorry.

  • Comment number 85.

    I don't know what all the fuss is about either. I would have benched Lampard for England years ago. His performances have been atrocious and he has remained in the team for one reason only: his name is Frank Lampard. Finally Fabio "it's only me" Capello has started talking about players' names not preceding them and Lampard will suffer more than anyone under this new philosophy (if Capello stays true to his word).

    As for his position changing at Chelsea, I think he should only be considered to have value as a deep midfielder IF he's superior to other holding midfield options. His name and reputation should not mean he simply retreats down the field by default. And comparing Scholes to Lampard is a disgrace. Note that Scholes was asked to return to England when he was 35 and a season away from retiring and was also consistently one of the highest performers at the very best club in the country.

  • Comment number 86.

    85. Note also that Scholes was displaced from the England side by Lampard, and conveniently retired when he faced genuine competition for a place.

  • Comment number 87.

    Give Lampard some time, he'll come back to good form, I know it.

  • Comment number 88.

    Lampard should walk into any team that can feature Kalou and Mikel. he is still streets ahead of these two hopeless individuals. I know they play in different positions but every player in the Chelsea squad should be ahead of these two, particularly Kalou who unsurprisingly screwed up again this time against Valencia. Frank has been a great servant for Chelsea and England but with Josh Mceachran waiting in the wings some may think his playing days may be numbered. I for one would not write him off yet. at 33 he is still a fantastic athlete.

    Chelsea Fan

  • Comment number 89.

    Chelsea fan here. Lampard has been a great player for Chelsea and while I think the time has come for him to step back a bit, he still has a role to play.

    Both Chelsea and certainly England need to begin phasing the golden generation out of the starting line-up. Lampard, Gerrard, Terry, Ferdinand should not be almost guaranteed starters any longer. That is not to say that they should be ditched in their entirity, their experience is invaluable and they can be used as impact substitutes if necessary. However it is time to blood younger, hungry players who will be the bulk of the team in a few years anyway.

    Can Lampard reinvent himself? No idea. He is a talented player and there is no reason why he can't do it from a technical standpoint. The question is does he want to, or take the easier option of going to a "smaller" club and continue as he has to date?

  • Comment number 90.

    lol to everyone saying he can do a job at chelsea but not at international level!! club level is alot higher than international level these days n frank had a good game against valencia last night! As for the people saying hes Fat and unfit you dont play that many games in a row and have hardly any injuries in your career if you dont keep yourself in good shape. Some people need a little more respect for a true football grate and model professional.

 

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