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Ancelotti toasts Lampard magic

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Phil McNulty | 20:29 UK time, Saturday, 27 March 2010

At Stamford Bridge

Carlo Ancelotti chose fine wine rather than fine words to illustrate the scale of his satisfaction with Chelsea's savage statement of title intent. The toast, presumably, was Frank Lampard.

Ancelotti passed up the opportunity to expand on Chelsea's 7-1 mauling of Aston Villa, a handy help to their potentially decisive goal difference after firing five past Portsmouth on Wednesday.

Ray Wilkins, the ever-engaging stand-in spokesman for a silent Ancelotti, said: "Carlo deserves a rest. He's having a nice glass of red."

Villa boss Martin O'Neill looked more in need of smelling salts than Sauvignon after one of his most embarrassing days as a manager - but it was the wonderful Lampard who deserved to have the corks popping after placing himself in the Stamford Bridge Hall of Fame.

Chelsea's main priority was the win they needed as a lever to exert more pressure on Manchester United in the title race. The personal honours, however, go to Lampard and he deserves to be in the spotlight.

lampard_blog_150_pa.jpgLampard's four goals sent him ahead of Roy Bentley and Peter Osgood and into third place in the all-time Chelsea goalscoring charts with a total of 151 goals. Only Kerry Dixon and Bobby Tambling are now ahead of Lampard.

The mere mention of those legendary names provides glowing testimony to the record of this remarkable midfield goalscorer, who has repaid the £11m fee Chelsea handed to West Ham United in June 2001 several times over.

Any striker would be proud of Lampard's statistics, but a player who achieves this feat from midfield demonstrates a special talent. It was fitting that Lampard started and finished the goalscoring in a display that suggests reports of Chelsea's demise in the race to win the Premier League might just be exaggerated.

And it was all done without the rested Didier Drogba, who was still able to indulge in some grandstanding with the delirious Stamford Bridge crowd as the goals flew in over his shoulder during a touchline warm-up.

"Didier, Didier What's The Score?" was the question. He knew the answer - but Stamford Bridge also knew that his name would be among the first on the team-sheet for the potentially pivotal visit to Manchester United next Saturday.

Wilkins, an authority on what it takes to flourish in midfield at the highest level, said: "Frank is world class. We have a number of players who you would say are, or are very close to, world class. When you see the goals Frank has scored, and the level he has played to, then you have to say he is world class.

"He has the ability to get forward but also the ability to get back and defend. He is the same in training every day. He trains exactly the same as he plays, and if there are any young kids listening to what I am saying about Frank, then this is the example to follow."

Lampard, incredibly, is still an acquired taste for some supporters - not at Chelsea it should be stressed - with many still questioning his right to a place in England's World Cup team.

This is nonsense, of course. In a season where, and he may even admit this himself, he has not been quite at his best, Lampard remains a potent force - 21 goals in all competitions this season provides the hard evidence.

lampard_blog_ap.jpgLampard was helped by Ancelotti's slightly tweaked formation, which suited him perfectly. Nicolas Anelka shone as the lone striker in Drogba's absence, despite not getting on the scoresheet.

Ancelotti employed Joe Cole and two-goal Florent Malouda on the flanks, giving Lampard and Deco room to manouevre.

Yuri Zhirkov also played his part. And while the Russian's defensive deficiencies were exposed by John Carew's equaliser that gave Villa false hope, his attacking touches were outstanding as he was the victim of fouls for Lampard's two penalties and also created the crucial third goal for Malouda.

Salomon Kalou was Chelsea's other goalscorer as Villa ended beaten, bedraggled and a side that could barely wait to drag themselves away from Stamford Bridge. They looked humiliated - and so they should.

And on an afternoon of Chelsea landmarks, John Terry was able to celebrate his 450th appearance for the club - plus outstripping the mighty Ron "Chopper" Harris by captaining the club for the 325th time - with a win of some significance.

When Chelsea responded to deserved defeat against Inter Milan in the Champions League by only drawing at Blackburn Rovers, a sense of gloom appeared to enveloping their season.

Villa could hardly be placed in the same bracket as Mourinho's Inter, but 12 goals in two games against Portsmouth and a side supposedly chasing a place in the top four states emphatically that there is still life in Chelsea's title bid. And as a platform for the game at Old Trafford, this was built on solid foundations.

United's impressive response at Bolton may have taken some of the lustre off Chelsea's celebrations, but the way Stamford Bridge greeted news of Birmingham's late equaliser against Arsenal was an indicator that they feel battle for the Premier League is very much joined.

Chelsea, for a team you could stake your mortgage on for reliability in recent seasons, have shown an inconsisent streak this season - but when they get it right they are hard to live with, as Villa found out.

O'Neill did not mince his words, describing the outcome as "as devastating as I have had in the game." And for a manager who habitually, and understandably, talks up the talents of his players, he was scathing.

To suggest professional footballers have not tried, or given up when the game is beyond them, is a charge that should not be made lightly and must only be offered up sparingly.

Villa may have been at Stamford Bridge in body for the last 30 minutes, but they were not there in mind and spirit, so we should let O'Neill describe it when he says "at 3-1 we capitulated, which is not like us."

They have a swift opportunity to gain revenge and respectability in the forthcoming FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, but Villa looked leg-weary and numbed by this harrowing experience. It will also spark fears that they may collapse again in the manner which undermined them at this stage last season.

Football being the game that it is, we should not be too surprised if Villa turned this result on its head at Wembley - but words could not do justice to the improvement that would be required to effect this transformation.

O'Neill wisely deflected talk of the effect on Villa's hopes of finishing in the top four when he said: "On that performance we wouldn't finish 44th."

The mood could not have been more contrasting among Chelsea's players - and all the main plaudits were rightly being showered on Lampard.

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  • Comment number 1.

    When I heard Garth Crooks say that his 120 odd goals in the last 6 seasons must 'automatically' make Lampard the best attacking midfielder in the world, I laughed. He has never been the best attacking midfielder in the world. He's a good footballer, who has a good knack of doing the hardest thing in the game, but, although this may sound silly, take the goals out of his game and he hasn't got much to his overall game.

    Yes, in years to come we'll look at his record and say it's fantastic, and it is, but not every game will the defence open up like Aston Villa's. There was a point in time when under Mourinho, Lampard was truly inspirational scoring lots of goals, a lot of great strikes, but now he's going through the motions - not a bad thing at all, but there's nothing great about his overall game. This will be evident at the world cup. Top international teams won't give Lampard the space that he inherently needs to do what he does. Although no doubt he'll be taking the penalties.

    As for Chelsea, they blew it at Blackburn last week, and have 3 very hard away games. The only team that was going to challenge Man United was Arsenal, and they've probably blown it too today. Such a shame. There may be twists and turns yet, there probably will be, but I think Chelsea will finish not first, and win the FA Cup. How satisfying that will be to Chelsea fans I don't know.

  • Comment number 2.

    According to my computer, I'm the first to make a post on this 20.30 blog. Bizarre.. but agree with everything Phil says. Lampard's brilliant.

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm sorry, but a player can never be considered 'world-class' until he performs great for his country. Granted, some players come from country's with poor international sides and cannot therefore impress on the world stage - but Lampard is part of an impressive England team and has never replicated his form for Chelsea in an England shirt in a major tournament.

  • Comment number 4.

    Lampard is a decent player. if he keeps working hard and improving he can reach Diaby's level.

  • Comment number 5.

    World class because he got four goals and none of them were deflected?

    I know the lack of deflections today has left us all a bit shell shocked, but no need to go crazy and write an article Phil...

  • Comment number 6.

    Gavelaa's comments are nonsense. Lampard is probably the most consistent midfielder in the Country. Don't get me wrong, I think Gerrard is the better midfielder, but Lampard has a great touch, is an excellent passer and rarely loses the ball. He does the simple things well, and he is an excellent striker of the ball, as his goal tally suggests. It's laughable to suggest he nothing but a goalscorer; he gets almost as many assists as he does goals - just check out the stats! Also, don't forget that he never seems to get injured, which is an asset in itself!

    And check out the Opta Index stats for concrete evidence of his ability - he is statistically the best player of the decade in the Premier League:

  • Comment number 7.

    I think Gavelaa is totally wrong. Lampard is a world-class midfielder. His passing and link play are top drawer and he quietly goes about his business. He works extremely hard, tracks back and is a true box-to-box midfielder. What more does anyone want?

  • Comment number 8.

    sdfiske, what a simplistic viewpoint. He hasn't reproduced his England form simply because he hasn't played in the same position. He usually plays at the head of a midfield diamond; for England, he has played more defensively. That's just a fact and not a reflection of poor form. Successive England managers have preferred to reign in Lampard's all-round game for the same of the team.

  • Comment number 9.

    Lampard; 'world class' lol. Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Zidane, Paul Scholes (in his prime) are/were world class players. Lampard is a functional midfielder, he is consistant, scores goals and is a very good player. But 'world class?' I dont think so.

  • Comment number 10.

    #1 I can only think you have down played Lampard's ability and influence to appear 'controversial', but sadly its more predictable. 150 goals from midfield in 9 years - that makes Lampard a world class goalscoring midfield. He may not have all the tricks and dribbling ability of Ronaldo or Messi but he is a highly intelligent footballer with a good range of passing who works very hard for his team and team mates. His movement off the ball is unbelievable - it is no fluke that he is so often on the end of things in the penalty area. He has been an excellent servant to both club and country and there is no manager in the world who wouldn't want Lampard and his goals in their team.

    #3 Euro 2004 Lampard was England's best player. At 2006 world cup no England player covered themself in glory, and Lamps was undeservedly made a scapegoat. He did have a post 2006 lull, but under Capello he has probably been England's most consistent midfielder. Not a Liverpool fan by any chance?

  • Comment number 11.

    Whao! I'm so happy for both Lampard and Terry. Apart from the fact that they have been at chelsea for ages now,they have also entered the club's record book. To them,i say congrats. Now back to the league title and as SAF rightly said,"its not over until the last game,and goal difference might play a very vital role...". Now the contending teams are refusing to let go off that race just yet although it seems so slim for arsenal now following the recent draw they just had against birmingham city. As a United fan,i just hope we finish the season with the trophy.
    Next week's match between Man Utd and Chelsea might just be the decider,til then...

  • Comment number 12.

    Yeah, Lampard up there with all those great Chelsea players like... um... Michael Duberry?

  • Comment number 13.

    Lampard,certainly a terrific club player and an impressive( club )goal scorer from midfield.
    World class? No, hasn't done it at international level or against Europes top sides, Barcelona, Inter amongst others.
    Seems lost when denied space.
    Credit though for his league achievments.

  • Comment number 14.

    nothing to his game? i'll agree that he has not been at is best this year; in fact he probably won't ever match his form in 04/05 - but he is still one of the best centre midfielders in this country, and one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the world. in the second half villa were abysmal at the back and allowed chelsea's midfield to run riot, but lampard has a natural talent for finding and exploiting the space.

    as well as having an excellent range of passing he is a great striker of the ball, good in the air and solid defensively - not to mention working as hard as anyone match after match. he might not be as flexible a player as stevie gerrard but he generally outscores him despite gerrard often playing further up the pitch.

    the stick he gets is absurd.

  • Comment number 15.

    Well done Frank! A quality player without question. I believe that with practice Lampard could become as complete a midfielder as Darren Fletcher and maybe even learn to finish with the same aplomb as Darren Gibson.

    Credit due nevertheless!

  • Comment number 16.


  • Comment number 17.

    Really don't like Chelsea myself, but all those critics of Frank Lampard have a day off. Chelsea are a world class team and devoid of his presence regularly they probably wouldn't do anywhere near as well as they have done over the past few years. Just gotta hope that he's used played in his most desired role during the World Cup like the other starting XI and there's no reason why England couldn't do really well.

    Well done Frank!

  • Comment number 18.

    Congratulations to Frank Lampard! He is deservedly one of the most respected men in football today by managers and other players who recognise his ability and achievements. There is no other English midfielder playing today who comes close to Lampard in terms of minutes played and goals scored at this level; Premier league, Champions League, you name it (just forget international matches because England has been poor for a long time).
    So it is puzzling that he is belittled and disrespected by so many english. It makes me think that, actually, english football fans are a bit like their national team; 'could do better'.

  • Comment number 19.

    I remember clearly when Lampard went to Chelsea there was much talk in pubs and internet message boards that he wasn't worth the money they paid, and plenty of my fellow Villa fans thought the same. It looks like small change these days.

    That said anybody could have scored against Villa yesterday, that was a sorry, sorry performance. If the manager wants to avoid drubbings perhaps he should consider rotating his squad a tad more, certainly more than once when playing five games in two weeks? Just a thought Martin.

    Was it really two seasons ago that we drew 4-4 at the Bridge with ten men? That also seems like a lifetime ago. If this is the best MON can do then he should be on his way, but I hope that he can do better. Big few weeks now, we can still get in the race for fourth but we need to win games and rotate our squad.

    But today was Lampard's and Chelsea's and good luck to them.

  • Comment number 20.

    This throws up the classic argument of what constitutes the term 'world class'. It's a dichotomy between those who feel it is only attributable to skill & artistry, and those who stick by the literal value of the words - 'world class' has to mean a player who performs brilliantly for his country or against the very best club teams.
    The trouble for Frank Lampard's reputation is that he doesn't conform to either definition - he isn't likely to get a hattrick against Brazil at the World Cup, nor are people years from now likely to say in hushed tones "I saw Frank Lampard play".
    I agree entirely with the notion mentioned previously that he hasn't been played in the ideal role for England and that has affected his performances - and anyone with the blithe response "great players can play any role" should take note how much Rooney has improved since moving from the wing to the centre - and that has to be taken into account.
    My own personal opinion on what constitutes 'world class' is this: if a player's club were to put him up for sale tomorrow, would the top ten clubs in the world be interested? Even at almost 32, you would have to say Lampard gets an emphatic "yes" to that.
    People shouldn't confuse the England issue with Lampard's inherent quality; the problem with the national team is that not playing to Lampard's strengths dramatically reduces the purpose of putting him in the team in the first place. It's no different for Chelsea - Ancelotti tweaks the team to put Lampard as the focus, and what happens? He scores four goals. Rooney, Fabregas, Messi, Ronaldo - all these players are 'world class', but without the system being set around them, would they be able to show it?

  • Comment number 21.

    Lampard is a good player, no doubt and he's certainly done a lot for the Chelsea cause, but who exactly are these so called "Chelsea legends" and what exactly did they win?

  • Comment number 22.

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

  • Comment number 23.

    I generally agree that while Lampard is a great player at domestic club level, i have rarely (if ever) seen him perform to these heights on a world/European stage. Indeed he generally goes missing during the bigger occasions. He is definitely not world class, and in response to people who say he would walk into the top ten teams in Europe, i would say i doubt it. Why would a team like Barcelona take him in place of Xavi or Iniesta?

    Phil (or anyone), please feel free to cite incidents where on a world stage he has completely stamped his authority on the opposition. I honestly can't remember any match where he has done this, and that is a major criteria for being considered world class; at the highest level you are capable of making a difference to the outcome of the game.

    Also, to people who seem to bolster arguments with stats - there is a saying: "lies, damned lies and statistics". If we were to believe stats alone, then we would be saying Peter Crouch is a better player than Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes and as good as Lampard and almost Kevin Keegan's equal. What do you mean this is nonsense? His stats back this up..... ;)

    It is a very English disease that we think our players are so much better than they actually are and is one of the reasons we will look perplexed and hold a major inquiry when England get knocked out at the quarter-finals stage of the world cup yet again.

  • Comment number 24.

    The term world class footballer has always been utter babble. You have players that are among the best in their own positions. How can anyone compare Maradona with Franco Baresi?. Zidane with Peter Schmeichel?. It's just silly. In his position, Lampard compares strongly with most others. He is certainly more functional in his game, in comparison to more natural talents like Scholes or Zidane. I try not to get involved with tribal disputes. I just call it as I see it. Lampard is a fine player with an impressive goals record. Also this notion that he only scores penalties or fraggle rock deflections is also a large serving of pants. I can recall goals against Barcelona and Bayern Munich in high level European games being exceptional. Chelsea's record of semi final runs in the champions league is due in many games, to Lampard's input.

  • Comment number 25.

    To #3, #5, #13, #22, #23:

    Doesn't perform on the big stage?

    Lampard has scored 20+ goals for the past five seasons.

    That tally includes the equaliser in the 2008 Champions League final, the winner in the 2009 FA Cup final, goals against Barcelona in three separate matches (two of which were at the Nou Camp) and home-and-away against Bayern Munich.

    He has now scored 20 goals in 77 appearances for England. At Euro 2004, he scored three goals in four games. One of those goals was in the crunch group game against France, and another was the equaliser in extra-time against Portugal to send the game to penalties. He was also named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament.

    What more do you want him to do?!

    Please take your blinkers off and admit he is an exceptional player. I'm sure if he was Brazilian or Argentinian, or played for your club, you wouldn't adopt the same line.

  • Comment number 26.

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

  • Comment number 27.

    Lampard is world class here and there. I admit he's had bad seasons and true, he hasnt been Englands best player, but you cant deny what he achieved for his club, 470 apps, and 151 goals?? And at 31 and still playing at this sort of level?

    I disagree with the fact that Lampard couldnt walk into the top European teams, Barcelona being the exception because, lets be honest, truly awesome team. But Lampard would walk into Real Madrid or Inter with ease. Lampard gives something that very few other players do well. He pulls strings all around midfield, while at the same time scoring goals.

    Its a pity he has never done this for England but hopefully in the World Cup that might change.

    However this said, us English do have a problem. If we had such World class players, why havent we done better in all competitions? I'm sure we all remember missing out on the last Euros.

  • Comment number 28.

    Phillip, as per usual a piece of "journalism" full of wild statements. Lampard is not World Class and can never be classed so.

    I defy you to show me a Champions League game in the business end of the competition, that he has bossed and really stamped his authorirty on? Yes he scored in a Champions League Final, but that was nothing more than a Premier League game. Being a relatively consistent performer in the Premier League does not make you World Class.

    It would be interesting to see how many goals Frank the "top, top player" according to his deluded and biased cousin calls him, that are not deflected or from the penalty spot.

    Lampard is a top Premier League performer but not World Class. Let us watch his contribution a this years' World Cup.... You can throw out that statement that he is not suited to a diamond formation. But if you played Rooney or Ronaldo at the left back, they would still make a big contribtution to the game. Your mate Frank wouldn't.

  • Comment number 29.

    If Lampard is world class, who else is not? Of the 150 goals he scored, may be 50 were penalties and about 70 were deflected!!! World class - No. Premier league - I agree he has been a very good player.

  • Comment number 30.

    You'll see just how good Lampard is at the World Cup. Watch him do his usual disappearing act. He's the Graeme Hick of football; a flat track bully. A monster when the opposition is mediocre and a minnow when he's not surrounded by his Chelsea support group or the opposition is tough.

    Hugely overrated player.

    He reads a game well and as a result he's often in the right place at the right time to pounce on an opening. An excellent opportunist, in other words. However, you can't compare him to a Messi or a Ronaldo who can both open up a defense like a can of sardines. Frank doesn't terrify defenders like those guys do. He simply pops up in the right place at the right time. There's only so many tunes you can play with that one string violin.

  • Comment number 31.

    The fact is, there is no other midfielder in the world who is scoring 20 odd goals year in year out for their club. Regardless of how Lampard plays for England his exploits for Chelsea are outstanding.
    In Argentina Messi is slaughtered for his poor performances for his country yet is widley regarded as the best footballers in the world. The same could be said of Frank.
    Why cant we appreciated Lampard for the unique talent he his. Even Scohles in his pomp never got the goals Frank does. The boy has something. Lets be grateful and appreciate how lucky we are to have such an effective player in our ranks. I`m a Man Utd fan by the way. Good on Frank. Congratulations on the 150!!

  • Comment number 32.

    Someone at The Guardian has debunked the deflection myth.

    As of October 2006, Lampard had scored 73 goals for Chelsea. Six of these involved deflections, and eleven were penalties.

    So, more than 75% of Lampard's goals were not penalties and did not involve deflections.

    " would seem that Lampard's deflected glory is not as great as the nation's many Frankophobes would have you believe"

  • Comment number 33.

    Thumbs up to Winchos for coming out clean about Lamps even though you are a utd fan. come to think of it, how come Lamps gets so much of stick even though he has been scoring 20+ odd goals for the past six seasons albeit a midfielder he is? I have never seen a midfielder that scores more goals than Lamps in a season yet he gets so much of stick?? gerrard plays further up yet scores late. tis guy is truly world class. people make comments about contributing on the international stage but the last two world best players (messi and ronaldo) never shown for their country or won a major trophy for them but they are termed world class???

    There is also this debate about Lamps scoring more penalties and deflections and even termed lucky by some but come to think of it, Rooney has 33+ goals most of which has been penalties and yet he is termed world class?? I guess the factthat Lamps is a chelsea player speaks volumes on why he gets so much stick. if drodga has been playing penalties for chelsea, ibet he would have been the highest goal scorer in the premier league not to talk of the odd month he was away for AFCON. At least we should try and be truthful for once and acknowledge the great and a truly world class player that Frank Lampard is.

  • Comment number 34.

    Totally agreed with you on the 'Toast' in this post. I would like to augment my toast in addition to yours.
    My hat off to Ancellotti who was spot on with his starting lineup resting Drogba for United's visit. IMO MON was flummoxed totally by Chelsea starting lineup. His plan & preparation especially to contain Drogba fell by the wayside or was it by Chelsea's 'B'ench?
    Thats Chelsea Plan 'B' - brilliant isn't it? You don't hoof the ball to a top or lone striker (no matter how good viz Drogba is) against teams
    who can pick them off or defend them well with 'experienced' CBs'. Thats Villa's CBs forte isn't it. No?

  • Comment number 35.

    In connection with my previous post No. 34, IMO the risk of playing Drogba getting injured or carded will be high based on Drogba's proclivity to run AFOUL of FA's referees. CA was wise and judicious in implementing Plan "B". No?

  • Comment number 36.

    Lampard is amazing - no doubt about it.

    But to say "Any striker would be proud of Lampard's statistics, but a player who achieves this feat from midfield demonstrates a special talent." is not absolutely correct.

    If Drogba, who has 124 goals to Lampard's 151, had taken penalties for Chelsea all these years I am sure he would have crossed Bobby Tambling's record by now!

  • Comment number 37.

    sdfiske: "I'm sorry, but a player can never be considered 'world-class' until he performs great for his country." So by that score, what does that make Lionel Messi?

    "...has never replicated his form for Chelsea in an England shirt in a major tournament." Euro 2004 anyone?

    How the critics keep popping up is beyond me.

  • Comment number 38.

    I have a few concerns about Lampard -- he scores plenty of goals for his club but does not seem to try when playing for his country. Cheers PeterC

  • Comment number 39.

    Neither Frank or Gerrard are "world class", and will stiff at the world cup. both rely on a system where the play rotates around them (Gerrard more so) and like yesterday one up front. this allows them the freedom to wander and effect the game. Unfortunately to do this you need to train as a team every day so that when you move out of position the team can adjust England do not have this luxury. as a result players who haven't got positional discipline, like Frank and Gerrard are a liability. this isn't noticable against poor teams but is against the best. As an example when Gerrard is "on the left" he rarely is, instead moving around the pitch, as this movement is not covered he leaves the poor left back with no support and good teams will exploit this. Frank has the same problem, and good as they both are for their clubs I would play neither for england and world class they are not.

  • Comment number 40.

    A decent enough blog, but not really sure what value it adds. It's just stating the obvious.

    Lampard has scored alot of goals for Chelsea. Lampard is not a striker. Lampard can pick out a pass. Lampard can control a game. Lampard is probably world class.

    All points I agree with, but there is nothing new in there. What i want to know is, why when you stick three lions on his shirt does that all disappear, when he arguably has even better players around him?

  • Comment number 41.

    It baffles me how Brits who are not Chelsea fans love to put down Lampard in an English shirt. Lampard is hands down the best and most consistent midfielder in the PL at the moment and by definition the best English midfielder in the world. BY FAR.

    Gerrard who might have a claim to being better than Lampard is now in a bad form, while undoubtedly still a great footballer all around. How can you not call Lampard a word class player is beyond me. The suggestion that he is a functional midfielder is laughable, given he can play defensively, organize the midfield AND score goals. Maybe his goalkeeping is poor?!

  • Comment number 42.

    Very poor article here Phil, but shows your back to your Chelsea loving best. Where was 'world class' Lampard against Inter, having a night off - those are the games in which your judged, not on a game which when at 3 -1 you have effectively already won. Yes, Lampard is functional in midfield and is a solid player, but for me he goes missing in games all to often. Indeed the whole of the Chelsea midfield will need changing soon as the creaks are showing particularly this season.

  • Comment number 43.

    This would mean a lot more if it was not a tabloid reaction to 4 goals. the real story is the last 3 times I can recall Chelsea with 1 striker Lampard 7 goals (is that as many league goals as 'Nelka has?) Chelsea 19. Yet McNulty wrote a bizarre piece on the classy waste that is Anelka - the cost of his goals assists as some sort of 2nd striker winger is Lampard/midfield goals and going light in midfield with ageing players.

    Had Chelsea played 1 striker all season the midfield would be fresher the league wrapped up and it's hard to see how they could lose to Inter in that case.

    The fact is that Ancelotti's cypher tendency and need to put the players the chairman wants in has nearly cost the season.

  • Comment number 44.

    Whats this rubbish that Lampard is only a decent player who scores a few goals? What more would you like from a midfielder? He scores 20 + goals a season and any one who says that this is all he does clearly does not watch Chelsea very often. He also creates assist after assist for Drogba, Malouda, Anelka...
    Furthermore, about this argument that all his goals are either deflections or penalties. Yes Frank scores a few penalties but this arguement has been used so many times on so many players (Van Nistelrooy, Shearer and iv even heard it used about Zidane!!!) The fact that Lampard scores so many goals whether they are scored at the spot, a deflection or a tap in shows what a great player he is as it is just one aspect of his game. And this is all in a season when Frank has supposedly be out of form. In the toughest league in the world Lampard has consistently been the best or in the top 3 best midfielders for years now. One of which he was voted 2nd best player in Europe, he also I think has the record for most games played on the trot in the premiership, he is within reaching distance of being chelsea s top ever goal scorer and Lampard Chelsea would simply not be the team that they are. Whist I am of course going to be biased as a chelsea fan surely everyone has to recognise what a great player Lampard is!

  • Comment number 45.

    Well over the top Phil.
    He wasn't good enough for West Ham so what makes him so special now?
    Thank goodness we got rid of him and Harry Redknapp when we did.
    What have either of them achieved since?

  • Comment number 46.

    Hmmm..... Chelsea fans like Lampard... Quelle surprise....

    Fans of other teams don't like Lampard so much.... Quelle horreur!

  • Comment number 47.

    Phil, you're usually spot on but you're well off the mark here.

    Lampard is a very good footballer who has enjoyed the benefits of playing in successful sides, allowing the influence he has to seem greater.

    Where have the calls of 'world class' been in the now continual champions league failures when lamps spends his time passing the ball sideways and backwards - unable to break a line or penetrate the opposition.

    The term 'world class' has become frighteningly diluted. Maybe its time you start having a real comparative think about things before making these statements.

  • Comment number 48.

    If one can't/doesn't admire the good players the opposition possesses,then he/she/that must be manU fan. As for lampard,congratulations and well done. Show me a man who played 200 modern football games without rest and injury...You'll end up with only name lampard. And to all manU fans,i don't write manu but manU,coz whatever you guys do/have,i show respect where its due.

  • Comment number 49.

    Before the match, I predicted a Chelsea win with a scoreline like 3-1.
    When Chelsea scored, I was expecting Aston Villa to react. And they did.
    When the floodgates opened, I was more concerned with how Manchester United will play without Rooney but after the fourth I was surprised and after the fifth I knew that 27th of March 2010 was Ancelotti's and Lampard's day.

    This wasn't a demolition of an average team. It was the most embarrassing defeat of Martin O'Neil - a manager with a long career filled with success. It was the demolition of a team with Downing, Petrov, Milner in midfield and Ashley Young and Agbonlahor on the wings. This has been an unbelievable, a breath stopping result.

    I would like to remember at this point the reaction of Chelsea fans after the match at Blackburn when, at blogs like this, they wanted Ancelotti's 'head' on a plate along with a clear out of the team, with calls of Lampard as a 'fat, slow midfielder'. What a way to silence your critics, huh?

    Ancelotti has been a breath of fresh air in the premiership. Under him, Chelsea do not have a manager who will speak about wars, omelets, melons, personal egos an 'me, me, me'. Under him, Chelsea do not have a manager who wants to win a game, disregarding performances. Under him, in the position occupied by the 'ex-translator turned football manager' with the huge ego, Chelsea have a manager who has won it all as a player and, as a manager, the only trophy missing from his cabinet is the world cup - but he hasn't been Italy manager yet.

    It is nice when a manager, even in adversity, talks calm about the game, gives credit where it's due and tells things with their name. It would be unfair for Chelsea to get rid of him, without giving him a chance to add to the squad with players he believes they can improve Chelsea's team. It's not nice when you have, for some years, an unchanging squad and demand from the annual manager to produce it all or else. It is nice that Chelsea have broken their all-time scoring record 7 weeks (?) before the end of the season.

    It is difficult to find words to describe Lampard's contribution to the Chelsea cause. Phil McNulty put it correctly, more or less. It is great when a striker scores 150 goals in his career for his club. When it comes from a midfielder who also backtracks to support his team's defence, it leaves you speechless. Remembering that, this is not twilight year in Lampard's career, makes it massive and a daunting milestone to reach, for every exceptional midfielder in the world. When this person is someone with a modest personality, who doesn't try to hurt opponents to win the ball, who - besides all the money and fame he possesses - has a down-to-earth personality and a smile on permanent display, then this person goes to that list of all time greats. I could write books about praising Lampard.

    So, what does the future hold?
    I would like Ancelotti to be given some funds to freshen Chelsea's squad as he believes it can be improved.
    I would like Chelsea to treasure their Frank Lampard, and John Terry and whoever they think that has written history for their club. My club, Manchester United, does that and Giggs, Scholes, Neville are there to guide the younger players to United's future. Iconic players like Lampard and Terry have on offer more than playing service to Chelsea F.C.

    27th of March 2010 was the day when Chelsea performed miracles. End of.

  • Comment number 50.

    Lampard is a very good player but not world-class. He won't go down in the history books as a consummate performer on the European stage, or the international stage. He'll go down as an attacking midfielder with a great shot, good passing and no dribble who beat six kinds of stuffing out of most teams in the Premier League and won a few leagues and cups but never the biggie in Europe or internationally. Is that good enough for posterity? No. I hardly need mention he's not a Pele, a Maradona, a Platini or even a Gascoigne (though far more consistent). Out of today's pack, he's not a Messi, a Ronaldo or a Kaka. On club impact, he's basically a Gerrard minus a European Cup. ;-)

  • Comment number 51.

    If he scores 4 goals next week I will call him world class for sure.

  • Comment number 52.

    It's impossible to argue with Lampard's goal return in the PL; It's arguably the toughest league in the world, goalscorers are like gold dust and on that basis he is indeed one of the best midfielders in the world.

    It doesn't change the fact that against top class opposition, Lampard has never and will never cut it and this summer will be no different. He's the Ricky Hatton of footballers; a hard working pro who has made the most of his ability and who always looks good against mediocre opposition, but ultimately a failure at the highest level.

  • Comment number 53.

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

  • Comment number 54.

    I disagree that you are only world class if you perform for your country. There is a vast difference between club and international football due to the lack of time the international sides train together and some of the strange, almost political, manoeuvrings that take place in international football. Messi is an example in that he plays amazingly for Barca against arguably the best opposition in the world in the Champions League yet can not seem to perform in the same way for Argentina.

  • Comment number 55.

    People still seem to equate his goal scoring as a reason he is world class. It is not! Without players like Makelele and Essien and at the moment Mikel around him he is not effective. Surely his "greatness" would shine through no matter where he plays and who he plays with.

    I am glad someone has managed to trawl the memory banks and come up with a game where Lampard delivered on the world stage. I also remember when Emile Heskey put the Germans to the sword in a 5-1 thrashing, so by the same token, Emile is World Class.

    For the record, I am not in the anti-Frank brigade, i agree he is a great premier league player, and scoring 150 goals from midfield is worthy of respect, but to talk in terms of him being world class is an insult to players who really are.

  • Comment number 56.

    The more I read people slating Lampard, the more it saddens me to realise that there are so many people who know nothing about Football. I could not agree more with Phil Mcnulty- Lampard is without a doubt world class footballer. His record speaks for itself. 151 goals for a midfielder is almost unheard of, and the accusations that the team is built around him, or he takes the penalties mean nothing to me- you still have to put them away. Furthermore, people have been belittling his 4 yesterday by saying there will be harder tests than Aston Villa. This is true, but before yesterday, this was the team that had the best away defensive record in the league!
    I really wish there were more articles like this which give Lampard the praise he deserved. I'm sick and tired of people slating Lampard or comparing him to others (e.g. Gerrard) . Whilst he might not be quite as good as Gerrard (although I always have believed he offers more going forward), he certainly has been head and shoulders above this season.
    As for the England accusations, Frank hasn't been amazing for England, but name me someone who has?? (bar Rooney perhaps). Gerrard has always been diabolical for England, and people seem to forget that at Euro 2004 Lampard was our best player except for Rooney.
    People need to understand that Lampard is a world class player, end of story

  • Comment number 57.

    Lampard is over rated. Alot of his goals are penalties that shouldn't have been... like yesterday!

    He may be a Chelsea great, but being a Cheslea great is nothing like being a United great, Barca great, AC Milan great... teams that have history of excellence.

    Lampard is a Chelsea great, a team of TWO titles. It's not hard to be Cheslea great.

  • Comment number 58.

    What a load of tosh!!!! Lampard can never be considered World Class. The term 'World Class' gets thrown around too much when it comes to English footballers. Would Lampard get in a World XI football team? No!! Would he get in a 2nd choice World XI?? No!!! Apart from his scoring goals, his actual gameplay isn't the best. We see this every time he pulls on an England shirt to play someone better than Lithuania or Estonia!! The only 'World Class' footballer in this country is Rooney, maybe John Terry when he has slightly less distraction in his life.

  • Comment number 59.

    Well its the usually reactive and over the top McNulty drivle really isnt it. He goes to a game and feels the need to write a whole article that lacks any sense of balance and is based almost entirely on one game.

    An article on Lampard wouldnt be the worst if it was actually reasonablly well written but unfortunately its the familiar McNulty speak of one liner paragraphs, unneccessarily inserted adjectives and contrite, self justifying writing.

  • Comment number 60.

    Everybody if they're honest would agree they already knew Lampard's the best midfielder in England. It's sad though that he gets more repsect from fans in Spain in Italy than he does in his home country. As shown by the boos he recieves from the same England fans who voted him their player of the year twice...

  • Comment number 61.

    Graeme Hick has 40-odd thousand first class runs behind him, but world class? Lampard is to football what Hick is to cricket. Decent player but NOT world class.

  • Comment number 62.

    (not a Chelski fan) very harsh, the negatives from some. im sure he could get into your teams! the good ol 433, Capello really has to take note, put Lamps, Barry & Gerrard in the centre, & Rooney up top on his own with 2 decent wide men. that way you get the best out of Lampard, Gerrard & Rooney imho. if Capello is stubburn & wont reason, this alone could cost England come WC. great managers know how to mix it up...

  • Comment number 63.

    Oh Phil you do make me laugh. The biggest knee jerk reaction journalist there is around because thats all you do, choose a story that makes the headlines then react.

    Lampard world class? So Phil is it only you that has actual definitions for these terms? I remember a discussion about James Milner where you seemed to be forcing your definitions of what makes a player world class or great down our throats.

    What has Lampard ever done for England?

  • Comment number 64.

    I honestly think that if Capello had been Englands manager for the duration of Lampards International career then Lampard would most definitely be a World Class player.
    The England team in general has done nothing to improve the status of players like Lampard and Gerrard.
    Both of them have not performed well for England and yet have the ability to perform week in and out in probably the best League in the world!
    This years world cup will finally tell the true story of Lampard and Gerrard and if Capello cannot get the best out of them, then they will be classed as underachievers for the rest of their lives, and certainly will not go down in history as world class players.
    Both of these talented players go missing in International matches, just like so many English players, so its time to put the record straight with their feet!

  • Comment number 65.


    do you perhaps think that Phil Mcnulty writes very deliberate blogs in order to get fans on to his page for a debate? We have had your point on journalism, what is your point on football?

    Frank lampard epitomises Chelsea during the club's most successful period... yes lacking in the kind of class you see on the pitch at Barcelona (most are) but he is an extremely effective footballer.

    When chelsea signed Deco or Ballack most would have thought they had signed 'class' players but Lampard is more of an asset to chelsea than those two put together. He is no Fletch though

  • Comment number 66.

    Frank the Shank?

    I think Phil has shanked this one into the top tier of the stands.

    The consensus already is that he is a decent club player, who can't seem to perform for his country, and I would agree with that.

    He would not make the final twenty if narrowing down the midfield for a fantasy world class team.

  • Comment number 67.

    50, Isaac. - has more or less summed up what I was going to say. (damn you, Isaac). Very good club player. Word-class? I think not.

    My favourite part of his game is these cute killer passes he makes now and again. But does't try them often enough and when he does try them he's only ever looking for Drogba.

    He's just his generations Steve McMahon, who won leagues and cups with Liverpool, but didn't cut it on the international stage.

  • Comment number 68.

    Lampard is a class player for Chelsea!! End of!! He's a great athlete who has used the talent he has been given to the utmost!! When we think of world class players we think of Zidane,Pirlo,Xavi, Messi. Patently he is NOT in that class, nor is any other England player at the moment bar Rooney and perhaps, when he is fit and his mind is on football Ashley Cole!!

  • Comment number 69.

    What are the parameters expected of a midfielder, the essential features of the game he should be judged by? In order of their their importance these are control, service and goals.

    Compare Frank to say Iniesta, Xavi, Gerard or Essien in the three departments. He may not excel in each category but stays close in the first two. His goalscoring lifts him well above the others. Makes him my first choice.

    And as some poster here pointed out he hardly ever gets injured. There are many who are prone to regular layoff.

    There are quite a few who do not consider him World class, whatever it means to them. Both of his field goals were classy. I do not think Capello could pick better.

  • Comment number 70.

    Many comments refer to most of Lampard's performances for Chelsea as being ordinary - that description befits most of the players who have played for England for the past ten years - bog standard ordinary bar Rooney and Ashley Cole. Beckham in the past may have stood out because he was playing in such an average international team! In England's defence have there really been any stand out international teams in the modern era - Brazil perhaps and more recently Spain!! Other than that I'm stuck!!

  • Comment number 71.

    Great to see his up with the best Dixon &co nice one Frank.When it comes to world class you,ll always get critics,alot from, fans from other clubs who think thier players or others are better,why not for once give credit where credits due, his achieved something,great within the club,let him enjoy it.

  • Comment number 72.

    Frank Lampard to me is fractionally better than average. He takes so many shots per game that statistically some of them have to go in. He tends to take a lot of audacious shots also which means that when they do go in, he looks like an amazing player.

    A few seasons ago Forest (who were in League 1 at the time) played Chelsea in the FA Cup. Forest had him sussed, every time that the ball was at his feet and near the area, they knew he'd shoot. So they'd throw two players in to tackle him.

    Forest still lost as expected but Lampard didn't score.

    Look at him in the World Cup 2006, more shots than anyone else in the tournament but zero goals. Steven Gerrard gets my vote as a better player. How many of Lampard's shots could have been passed to another player who may have scored? If you ask me, Lampard is there to the detriment of the team. So people ask why then does he have great statistics for goal assists, the answer is because his team-mates have the ability to score goals. If his team mates miss (as they would do more often in a lesser team than Chelsea) then he doesn't get the credit for an assist. Don't believe Opta, we all know he's a greedy Lump'ard.

  • Comment number 73.

    Agree Lampard is a chelsea great, and should be in the WC squad. People say him and Gerrard can't play together, so I'd pick on form and leave Gerrard on the bench if I was in a good mood, at home if not.

    My chelsea season ticket holding colleague justifably loves the guy (convieniantly forgeting he's just a paid for import from down the road) but when I asked him who will be the next person to challange that stat board the question has him worried. The club bought so many players when Roman took over they effectivly killed a whole generation of young talent dead. There is no-one on the horizon who's even close, and he includes Drogba in that. I'd agree

    Lampard isn't a England great though, not even close and people should stop pretending he plays as well in an England shirt. He doesn't. The stats as well as the opinions of every non-chelsea supporting fan back this up.

    One final point. Good result for Chelsea, but Lampard shouldn't even have been on the pitch. What he did last week was a disgrace but the referee gave him a yellow and beacus of the ref's weekness and the FA's stupid laws nothing can be done. Same with Gerrard. Looks like Utd though will loose one of our key defenders for the 2nd time based on video evidence for the same thing as the others mentioned. And just in-time for the crunch game against Chelsea. Chelsea fans are always 1st with the conspiracy theory's so here's one for you.

    Without your teams favourable treatment from ref's you'd be no where close in the PL.

    UTD get ripped on for getting one stone cold peno at home, you've now had twice as many as us this season.

    Your players aren't disciplined as per the laws, especially at home, and if you don't think ours our then look at vidic's red card record against 'pool.

    It's about time you accepted that refs mess up, you get the rub of the green often enough in the league that perhaps it looks like a conspiracy when you don't get it in Europe.

    I look forward to seeing the Mighty Frank Lampard in action in the Champions League Quarter/Semi Finals and Finals, I'm sure his performance on the BIG stage will get him the World player of the year award!

  • Comment number 74.

    Just a minor point but one definitely worth making seeing as so many are so keen to take me to task - I did not actually say Frank Lampard was "world class" in the blog. It is, in a footballing context, one of the more emotive phrases in the game.

    These were the words of Ray Wilkins, who went on to explain exactly why he thinks Lampard is world class: "We have a number of players who you would say are, or are very close to, world class. When you see the goals Frank has scored, and the level he has played to, then you have to say he is world class.

    "He has the ability to get forward but also the ability to get back and defend. He is the same in training every day. He trains exactly the same as he plays, and if there are any young kids listening to what I am saying about Frank, then this is the example to follow."

    What constitutes a "world class" player is open to all sorts of interpretations, but what is beyond question is that Frank Lampard has been an outstanding players for many seasons now and his record proves it.

    And to describe him, as one poster has, as "over-rated" is nonsense.

    It seems there is an anti-Frank Lampard lobby among football fans in England that will never go away. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but Lampard's record surely makes his pedigree beyond dispute.

    True, he has not flourished for England in the way he has for Chelsea, but to suggest he has not done it against top opposition is unfair. Lampard has been a stand-out player for Chelsea in the Premier League and Champions League and he has faced plenty of top quality opponents there.

    Is Lampard "world class"? As I say it depends how you define the term.

    In my opinion, going into the World Cup, England do have players of undoubted world class. They are (and remember this is only my opinion although I'll stick my tin hat on all the same) Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole and Steven Gerrard - although I accept the latter has been a real disappointment this season.

    I can certainly see why Wilkins puts Lampard in that bracket. And his opinion on midfield players, and what makes them "world class", is always worth listening to.

    And even if you argue over the term "world class", surely no-one can quibble with the assertion that scoring 151 goals for your club from midfield is the mark of a very special talent.

  • Comment number 75.

    For everyone who says that Lampard is just goals:

    2007/07 - 11 goals, 12 assists
    2007/08 - 10 goals, 10 assists
    2008/09 - 12 goals, 10 assists
    2009/10 - 17 goals, 14 assists
    (09/10 unfinished)


  • Comment number 76.

    Frank Lampard world class ? you having everybody on right? how many goals does he score at international level? how many goals does he score against the really top sides.If a player has as much shots as he does you going to score.It would be very interesting to find out how much shots he has at goal in a game and how goals he has scored against the top side and how many goals he has scored against the lower sides.good player but world class no.

  • Comment number 77.

    Talk about 'Lipstick on a pig syndrome'. Lampards not a bad player but to call him world class is like calling beckham world class...oh wait you did. You are like a prophet who knows all about a subject like what asda stock, half witted mcnulty u should be called. Super frank more like super can fill the blanks, it rhymes.

  • Comment number 78.

    151 goals scored from 1510 opportunities. 1 in 10.

    1510 opportunities which other players would have used to score 503 (1 in 3) goals from.

    503 > 151.

  • Comment number 79.

    The world class tag according to some and the country thing - you must be joking what makes the like of Pele and Maradone any better than let's say George Best or Ryan Giggs - they just so happen to play for World Class countries.

    Lamps hasn't quite done it regularly enough for country but if some suggested he can only score goals then he'd probably be at least close to being in a world xi based on that alone.

    Don't think you can compare his goalscoring record with another midfielder, maybe Ronaldo but he's not shackled by playing in the middle of the park and often in the last few seasons has the licensce to do what he wants.

    If you actually look at a player like Lampards ability to do those goalscoring feats alone then he'd firstly need a good shot on him, from all areas of the pitch, the ability to scored the odd spectacular goal or two. Excellant positional sense and reading of the game - the only other player who comes anywhere close was probably Paul Scholes a few seasons back. Good engine and fitness. Those that point out he's only any good at scoring goals (which is debatable anyway) fail to realise you have to be some player in the first place to do this.

  • Comment number 80.

    Well Phil, what actually is your opinion on Lampard's "world-class" tag?

    Its no good posting an article like this and then sitting on the fence.

  • Comment number 81.

    The anti-Lampard brigade are usually the anti-England brigade too. Fact is if Lampard was foreign then most of the doubters would be saying he is World Class (as I believe he is).

    Average players don't come second in the World Player of the Year, as Lampard did some years back.

  • Comment number 82.


    A bit less Lampard-Worship and a bit more of the normal match analysis would have been appreciated. Here are some questions for you

    1 - Many people think that at least 1-2 (some think more) members of the current Villa Squad should be going to the World Cup. Do you think they should based on yesterdays evidence? Going missing when 3-1 down is hardly a quality I think Cappelo wants in his players!

    2 - Milner has been touted by many as Lampards long term replacement for England. How much do you think he has to learn/achieve before this haapens? My thoughts would be "A lot"

    3 - What do you think the reason is for Villa's (under O'neil) tendancy to collapse in March? Despite having got the "never won" duck of their back this year their form has hardly been inspiring. And in any of the last 5 years I doubt they'd be close to chasing 4th.

    4 - O'Neils future prospects. Crazy as it seems some Villa fans were calling for his head last night. I don't think he should go, but do you ever think he will be able to "kick on" and get a job at one of the top clubs? Or will he have to drag Villa (or some other team) to the CL for a few years before he is given a shot based on many top teams owners desire for big name foreign coaches?

    Responses to any of the above would be appreciated.

  • Comment number 83.

    Lampard,certainly a terrific club player and an impressive( club )goal scorer from midfield.
    World class? No, hasn't done it at international level or against Europes top sides, Barcelona, Inter amongst others.
    Seems lost when denied space.
    Credit though for his league achievments.

    terrible chat, Euro 2004, arguably englands best player outside of Rooney. Champions league final 2008, outstanding. Barcelona in the Nou Camp when he lobbed the keeper, again outstanding and prob best player on the park. He has shown in the champions league many times what a top player hes is
    Lampard most certainly does perform at the highest level. Check your facts before you come out with drivel!!

  • Comment number 84.

    Midfielders still playing at the moment that you could call 'world class' going by performances at club and international level and trophies won over the last 5/6 years -

    Iniesta, Xavi, Seedorf, and Pirlo. Maybe Gattuso, and thats it really. Just four, maybe five players. You can't just use the term 'world class' on any player thats hit abit of form. You have to win, and win at the top!

    You could argue that Seedorf hasn't played for Holland for years but there was a time when he did and has won the champions league with 3 different clubs in his career.

    Gattuso isn't the same 'type' of midfielder as Lampard but has also won the champs league, twice. And has a world cup winners medal as does Pirlo.

    That leaves Iniesta and Xavi. You could argue that Iniesta doesn't always play in midfield. Sometimes plays out wide when Ibra or Henry don't start or come off for Barcelona. Both have won the Euros with Spain.

    Which brings me on to my next point. 4-3-3 is a formation favoured by more or less everyone these days. If you play upfront but out wide, like Messi, Ronaldo, Henry, are you a 'midfielder' or an attacker?

    Thats how complicated calling someone 'world-class' is.

    Is Fabragas world class? What has he won? Squad player for Spain in 2008.

    Is Carrick world class? What has he won? 3 league titles, champs league, world club cup. But isn't even an England starter. But who would you have in your team? Fab or Carrick? Are either of them worldclass?

    What point am I trying to make? I'm not even sure myself now!! Started typing and just could'nt stop!!!

  • Comment number 85.

    Im really confused Phil...

    you say ''Lampard, incredibly, is still an acquired taste for some supporters - not at Chelsea it should be stressed - with many still questioning his right to a place in England's World Cup team''

    and then you say he hasnt been doing it for england compared to Chelsea which suggests that incredibly there is a question to his place.

    I think the problem with Lampard is he appears to be this arrogant
    person, to England fans they watch him play and he just doesnt seem to care.

    I dont think its true, he fits perfectly into a Chelsea system which is very different to England and he just cannot adapt. It makes him look bad which is not his fault.

    Apparently he works his nutss off, is one of the hardest trainers, he strikes me s the type of player who thrives when he is totally accustomed to his surroundings.

    There are many more footballers out there who deserve a lot more stick than Lampard but he just cops it more than most.

    He is not overated, he just doesnt carry himself on the pitch like say Ronaldinho, Kaka, etc, what he brings is one of the sharpest brains in the game and thats what gets him the goals, some fans cant see past the silky skills

    I can see the frustration with England fans over the past few years but giving stick never improved the situation

  • Comment number 86.

    74. At 11:25am on 28 Mar 2010, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    "It seems there is an anti-Frank Lampard lobby among football fans in England that will never go away. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but Lampard's record surely makes his pedigree beyond dispute."

    So what is the objective of this piece? Is it to invite peoples opinion only to turn around and tell them they are nonsense and that you are right? If the point is not even up for debate then why do a peice on it, unless of course, its simply a peice glorifying Frank Lampard. If his pedigree is surely beyond dispute then I fail to see why you invite discussion on it unless you are simply looking for agreement.

    Lampard is a good goalscoring midfielder. In that isolation alone hes right up there. But in terms of all round game I am not convinced he is in the world class bracket. He takes too many long shots, his passing is good but not spectacular, defensively hes only ok. If you accomadate him purely on his strengths then he should get goals if in a good team. If not then I think his game goes rapidly downhill and he cant provide "world class" play.

    And for what its worth if you are going to try and open up this kind of debate (as opposed to stating your opinion as fact) then there should be at least some kind of criteria included in your piece as to what you consider world class is and then let people agree or disagree on that basis.

  • Comment number 87.

    Another thing that makes me chuckle about those who say Lampard isn't top-class is the fact they obviously think they know better than hmmm, Ranieri, Eriksson, Mourinho, Scolari, Hiddink, Capello and Ancelotti, all of whom have regularly picked him and made him a vocal point of their teams. All of them were wrong were they?

    I'd love one of the anti-Lampard brigade to come on and explain how they think they know better than this, not exactly rubbish, group of managers. Should be interesting.

  • Comment number 88.

    Frank Lampard is not a world class player.

    The problem comes with the definition of what a 'world class player' is. I think the phrase 'world class' is bandied about too readily by journalists these days.

    He is a great Chelsea player, and a great club player.

    'World class' refers to the best players in their positions in the entire world, and if you look over this decade the world class midfielders are the likes of Zidane, Pirlo, Xavi, Iniesta. They've won World Cups, European Championships, and the Champions League (more than once)

    Frank Lampard, as a player, is not in the same class as those players I've mentioned. He just isn't. There's no point looking at his goal record and saying he has done this and that, going on about statistics He is an excellent goalscoring midfielder, that's not in question. He's a great Chelsea player. He's just not the same calibre of footballer as those I've mentioned- the real world class midfielders. You just need to watch some football to see that. Watch Lampard in a game where he has to retain possession and keep the ball.

    It's like comparing David Platt to Maradona and saying Platt was world class because he was a regular scorer for England and for his clubs. Yes, he was but he was not Maradona or Gullit, or even Gascoigne. Platt was not world class and Lampard is not either.

  • Comment number 89.

    Lampard is not world class. He is consistently garbage for England.
    Where was he when Inter outclassed Chelsea ? A good Prem League player, no more.

  • Comment number 90.

    Ridiculous! This is just ridiculous! There is no way Lampard is world class! Should he be 'World Class' he would of helped guide Chelsea into the last 8 of the Champions League, he was out-classed that night by Inter Milan's midfield and the same goes for other big big games in the Champions League in recent seasons, he gets numerous amounts of praise becuase he helps Chelsea beat the likes of Portsmouth, Wolves, Hull and teams from that catorgery emphatically. Why arent we all singing and dancing about the likes of Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, Ji Sung Park - players who rise to the big games! As for England purposes Lampard wouldnt even make the second string England for me..

  • Comment number 91.

    World class ? Just like the rest of his Golden Generation, Gerrard, Beckham et al

    World Class is being the fulcrum,to go one step further when the going gets difficult, to raise your team to a higher level.

    Rooney is the ONLY english player who can even be considered "world class". Rooney = Lampard, yeh right. If Rooney gets injured, any bid for the WC is over, Lampard gets injured ? Do you say the same, no, nor do you with sulker Gerrard.

    If the others mentioned above were that world class, where's the results at international level ? We seemed to have so many, add Owen, Ferdinand, thats more than Spain !!!!

    No doubt with "world class players" as Lampard et al, we will win the World cup for the 3rd time this century !!!!!!

    Gifted player, yes, world class , you're having a laugh but there again with the hype surrounding English football, it does not surprise me what bull is written about these "world class"players.

  • Comment number 92.

    Lamps has never replicated his form for England? What? Did you not watch Euro 2004, where he was dynamite?

    And let's be honest, which England players have really replicated their club form on the international stage?

  • Comment number 93.

    No World Cup Title and No Champions League Title, and yet so much written word about him. Obviously you wrote this column to get on the nerves of people who think he is good to have in a team but not one of the greats, this way you fill up your blog. I wonder how your praise can get higher for an Englishman who achieves something outside England?

  • Comment number 94.

    World class????? Yeah right.
    He is good at what he does (score a lot of deflected goals). Okay i dont want to spoil chavski fan's mood on a sunday so i will end by saying its a very good achievement by frank in chelsea colours but surely it doesnt make him world class..
    Let's leave this term for those who really deserve it.

  • Comment number 95.

    I am amazed at some of the comments on here, do people actually watch him play?? I am sur peoples opinions seem to be formed from others, or myths. To say Lampard hasnt performed for England is not true he has had some great games, and been man of the match in a few, people just seem to remember the last World cup where he missed all those shots, but none of the so called World Class players did well or scored a lot, something to do with the flight of the ball perhaps?. To say he doesn't track back is also a myth, hes reguarly clearing balls and tackling in the area, and the Stats say that he covers more ground both for England and Chelsea than any other player! His tackling and staling of balls in the midfield area is better than all the other players mentioned here, some of his passing is phenomenal, but there is one facet of his game that stands out, a hugely important part of his game that makes him almost unique, the ability to receive and make a pass in one fluid motion, so important in rapid breaks, or retaining possesion for the team, for me hes the best in the world at this skill

  • Comment number 96.

    I see that the Lampard-haters are out in force!! Honestly, some of the comments on here are just pathetic and highlight how blinkered some 'fans' are. Take the anti-Chelsea/Lampard chip off your shoulders, open your eyes and think (difficult for some of you judging by the comments on here) is Lampard really so useless and over rated - seriously? In my opinion Frank Lampard is a world class player who's goal scoring record at Chelsea (for a midfielder) is unlikely to be bettered. No, he doesn't have the flicks and tricks of Xabi, Messi, Iniesta or Ronaldo but do you really need that in your locker to be condsidered world class? I would be be willing to bet that if you asked that quartet of players and others 'Do you think Frank Lampard is over-rated etc' the answer would be 'no'!! It really annoys me the way some 'fans' are so blinded by hate for a particular club/player they are unwilling to give credit no matter what - you say your a 'football fan', but are you really a fan of the game if you are so biased your unable to give a fair comment? As a Chelsea fan I don't much like Steven Gerrard, but there's no way I would say the guy wasn't anything other than a great player, ditto Patrice Evra (no offence meant Utd and 'Pool fans - I'm just being honest). Final word(s) on Frank Lampard - class act and long may he continue.

  • Comment number 97.

    I can't believe all the blinkered drivel being written about Lampard on here. Just how anyone can't see that Lampard is and has been a cut above for a long long time is completely beyond me. I know the 'world class' term gets banded about allot these days but I would have to agree that Lampard is one of the few English players to deserve the tag - along with (and I'm certain I'll slated here) Rooney, Gerrard, Cole, Rio, and Terry. All great players, and yes they have ALL had ups and downs, but the problem with people in this country is that they perceive certain foreigners playing in a foreign league as above and beyond what we see from our own players.

    What so many forget is that these same foreign players playing in different leagues have their ups and downs which are not as well documented over here. The main difference being that we don't have their slumps rammed down our throats. We are not watching them all the time, and the majority of the footage our TV networks show of them is when they are on form.

    To the people saying that Lampard never plays well for England - that is an utter myth. Can no one remember his international form around about 2003-2006? He was quality. Fair enough he has been quiet in certain England games, but do you all really believe the likes of Xavi and Iniesta NEVER have a bad game for club or country? Don't be so ridiculous. Lampard has been used of late in a deeper role for England than what he is used to, and almost always looks solid. He scores a hell of allot for a midfielder for club and country, and his playmaking is absolute class.

    I can't help feeling the majority of damming comments towards one of our best for a decade are from other 'big 4' rivals of other London rivals. If Lampard were a foreigner playing in a differnt league people would probably be falling over themselves in agreement with this article.

  • Comment number 98.

    Frank is world class. someone put he hasnt performed against top teams? he's scored in every round of the champions league and Fa cup, has came second in the ballon d'or only beatan by ronaldinho ..and previously had the record for games in a row played..150 goals from midfield. and yet people still doubt him..His england record isnt even bad..what isit 20 goals in 80 odd games?? lol what does he have to do to prove hes world class..for me nothing.

  • Comment number 99.

    The beauty of having an opinion is that one is never be wrong - other people can simply agree or disagree. Except, that is, when talking drivel about Our Boys in Team England FC. The term 'world class', along with myriad oft- and almost exclusively incorrectly used terms (see 'genius', 'football brain', 'immense' and 'massive' among others - typically in the context of football) is bandied around more than the spherical object upon which the game is based. I should say I have no strong opinion on Frank Lampard in particular - my point regards The Game as a whole.

    Hence, let us put this one to bed (as it were): Football is essentially an 11-man (yes, I am purposefully side-stepping political correctness - Women's football is a contradiction in terms and an embarassment) game; there are typically 20 teams in a league, and only 8 worthwhile leagues across the World (ENG, SPA, ITA, GER, FRA, HOL, ARG, BRA). Let us assume the world's most desirable players can be found in one of these 8 leagues; 8 leagues x 20 teams x 11 players = 1760 players.

    Now, I propose the best players - the 'world class' element if you must - would form two teams of 11 (after all, one team of 11 alone would look fairly stupid). 22 players out of 1760 is approximately 1% - i.e. the top 1%.

    Would Lampard, Gerrard, Ferdinand et al find their way into this elite? (by-the-way, there is no 'bench' for this 22-man game to end all games).

    I do not seek to knock the achievments of others; I simply say let us rationally examine the qualities of all current players.

    The question then is obvious: which players would currently fill the 22 positions?

    Let the disagreements commence...

  • Comment number 100.

    Lampard isn't world class, to score 4 goals against a Villa team that gave up at 3 -1 ????? his first was not bad but 2 pens and then a smash at the end,not exactly world class Phil??? he has never performed in an England shirt and shouldn't be in the England first 11....... 150 goals for Chelsea is good and he is a good footballer but not world class.

    The definition of world class is a player that can change a game -- Rooney,Messi,Ronaldo,Lampard isn't in that category and nor is Gerrard.

    End off.


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