Yep, you can argue if you like. I’ll listen to arguments about Scholes and Giggs. Some will doubtless put Gerrard forward for the accolade, and I guess there’s merit in that. I’ll listen to all of your arguments, but I’m not sure you’ll convince me. And here’s why.
Firstly, he always turns up. Not only does he hold the record for the most consecutive appearances in the league for an outfield player, again no mean feat for a box-to-box midfield player as he was for most of his career, he also always attends for the England call up, regardless of the perceived importance of the match. No mystery ‘calf strains’ when a no name friendly is on the cards. For the record, he has played in excess of 100 games more club games than Scholes and well in excess of 150 more than Gerrard. Only the virtually ageless Giggs can beat him on that criteria. For England he has 95 caps, over 50% more than both Scholes and Giggs’ Wales record, with only captain Gerrard seven in front of him.
Secondly, when he does, he performs. Lampard is the only player to amass ‘double figure’ club goal tallies in ten consecutive seasons. Just for the record, I don’t mean the only midfield player. That stat includes strikers as well. Yes, that’s right, it includes Shearer, Wright, Henry, Fowler and anybody else you want to throw in there. Oh, and this season he did that from a holding midfield position. He has also just become Chelsea’s top scorer of all time, eclipsing sixties legend bobby Tambling. His 203 goals compares to to Scholes’ 107 and 114 for Giggs, with Gerrard still to break the century. Now here’s a stat to round it off, Lampard is the fourth highest goal scorer in Premier League history. Yep, that’s right the fourth highest scorer and he’s not even a striker.
On top of that, he was elected Premier League player of the Decade for 2000-2009, was runner-up for the Ballon d’Or in 2005 and has been instrumental in all of Chelsea’s various cup and title triumphs since he arrived at the club.
So, there we go. Sure, Scholes has won more silverware, and Giggs, even more than that, but I guess that makes it even more noteworthy that Lampard achieved all of the above without playing for the all-conquering Manchester United team, and experiencing the revolving door management situations at Stamford Bridge. I have to ‘fess up that as a Chelsea fan, I’m a bit biased, but I think it’s a pretty strong argument now to claim the title for Lampard, and whilst others would champion different players, they’d need a good logic to convince me that I’m wrong.