Joe Strange - Super Frankie Lampard
Published: 03 May 2010 - 06:46:19
Rewind to just over a week ago and the country's top players and managers were congregating at a swanky venue somewhere in London for the annual PFA player of the year awards.
The big gong, the Premier League player of the year award couldn't have been much more of an anticlimax - it was almost as inevitable as Fergie moaning about injury time or Wenger whinging over tough tackling.
We all knew who was going to win it. The nominees - Drogba, Fabregas and Tevez - all knew who was going to win it. Even my nan knew who was going to win it. Enter Mr Wayne Rooney, the saviour of English football.
Wazza has had a remarkable season but there's another Englishman who seems to have been unnoticed and unrecognised by the PFA once again.
While Darren Fletcher was being named alongside Cesc Fabregas in the central midfield partnership in the team of the year, Frank Lampard must have been wondering what more he could do to merit a place.
Don't get me wrong, Fletcher has had a very solid season, establishing himself as a key part of Manchester United's midfield. But one of the two best central midfielders in the country? I don't think so.
The problem that Lampard seems to have is that we've all become so accustomed to his consistently excellent performances that nobody seems to sit up and take notice anymore.
This season he has already bagged himself an extraordinary 26 goals in all competitions - a truly phenomenal record for a midfielder tasked with getting from box-to-box for 90 minutes every game.
If he goes a few games without scoring then the media immediately start to get on his back, seemingly forgetting that he is a midfielder and not a world class striker.
Although it's unfair, Frank should really take his criticism and lack of awards as a backwards compliment. He's set such high standards over the past few seasons that people expect him to score 20+ goals a season and if he has a few off games then people immediately start to think the worst.
It[s all a by-product of being a fantastic player, something he has proven himself to be season after season.
More important than captain John Terry (and by all accounts a much nicer bloke), Lamps has become a real talisman for the Blues and is arguably the biggest driving force behind their success in recent seasons.
Most England fans are putting their World Cup dreams firmly on the shoulders of Rooney this summer, but people would be wise not to forget about Lampard.
He might not be everyone's cup of tea but if super Frank is on form in South Africa, don't bet against him being the one firing England to glory.
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- A product of Brighton University's prolific youth system, Joe Strange has boundless energy and the enviable ability to cover every blade of grass in his Monday blog. Joe has written for a variety of football websites and fanzines and is also a regular contributor to golf.co.uk. Despite being born and raised in Kent, 'Stranger' is a diehard Everton fan and counts his team's penalty shoot-out victory against Manchester United last season as his most memorable football moment. Follow Joe on Twitter @joe_strange.
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