In 2008, Sir Alex Ferguson stated ‘Frank Lampard is an exceptional player – a huge asset to Chelsea, You pay attention to players who can get goals from midfield and he's been averaging 20 a season. You don't see him getting into stupid tackles or making a habit of becoming involved in silly rows. He remained restrained after Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona and even made a point of swapping shirts with Andrés Iniesta’- A rare comment from a rival manager. ‘Frank Lampard scored one of the highest set of marks ever recorded by the company doing the tests’, another statement given by Bryan English who was the Chelsea doctor at the time (2005-2011) when a neurological research was conducted by Mensa . Such is the intellect of the midfield maestro and legend being put in the spot light. Not only is he my favourite Chelsea player but also a good professional and a role model for young footballers.
Joining Chelsea in the 2000/2001 season, Frank has never regretted that decision. He has lived up to expectation and even beyond, making and breaking a number of records in the process. With a big smile on his face when he broke Bobby Tambling’s record, he’s now the club's all-time top goalscorer with 205 goals in all competitions. In the Premier league, he is regarded as the only midfielder, to have scored 150 or more goals (premiersoccerstats). What an enviable achievement for a midfield player!
At age 35, Lampard is still described as one of the finest midfield generals in the modern game. He has relentlessly contributed to the course of the Three Lions although there’s no silverware to show for that, unfortunately. His 29 goals in 102 caps for the Three Lions also speak volumes of how lethal Frank is in front of goal.
Lampard has always been known as a box-to-box midfielder who works tirelessly, has a very wide passing range and a good eye for goal. The former two attributes seem to have vaporized over time but his trademark pop in for goals has never ceased. This makes it quite a quagmire for any manager to just ‘ignore’ his importance to the squad. Most Chelsea players have also confirmed the enthusiasm, commitment and passion with which Lampard trains even at his age. He reports to training on time and most often is the last to leave the training grounds.
In 2003, when the Special One rekindled the business of winning laurels at Chelsea, after a long while, Lampard was very integral and has been part ever since. His maturity escalated from ‘just another English boy’ to ‘what a good English talent!’ In those times, he graced most of the covers of English papers just as much as his manager did; no wonder he won the silver award for the 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d'Or respectively. Mourinho indubitably is behind the success of Frank’s illustrious professional career and evidently his management of the player on his return attests to that. His contract extension was probably augmented by Jose’s return and it seems he’ll be getting another one. He has played in 13 games of Chelsea’s 15 so far and that shows the confidence Jose has in him. His adaptation to a more defensive role since Roberto Di Matteo’s tenure has also shown the ‘other side’ of Frank: very accurate slide-tackles, good link-up play with the forwards and quick release of balls.
Much has been said about his work rate whenever he plays in the double pivot with any other player. His recovery seems to be slow and he barely remains in the pivot. Ramires most often, when he plays with Lamps, does extra work to cover up for him but again opposing defenders have a whole lot to do when he’s on the pitch. The difficulty is to make sure Lampard does not pop in behind them bearing in mind how lethal he is. With the Chelsea forward comprising of a lot of agility, speed, skill and technique, Lamps now has the luxury of staying behind and pouncing when the timing is right. Even though there seems to be qualms about the minutes he gets compared to the much younger players in the squad, he really justifies his inclusion anytime he plays. There are obviously a number of times when he goes off- sync but his contribution to the team is commendable.
Super Frank is a big game player and every opposing player will reecho this. His experience is very much a pushing force for Chelsea’s resurgence as a title contender over the past month: 3 wins in 3. In Europe, his experience is needed as much as anything. The goals will not end anytime soon especially with the number of minutes he’s getting on the pitch. I just wish him an injury free season.