Poll: Should Frank Lampard regain his England starting place?
Published : 08 Sep 2010 14:41:13
Two games, two wins and all is well again in the England camp.
Joe Hart is thriving in the number one jersey, Wayne Rooney is back among the goals and, most significantly, Steven Gerrard is looking like a world beater once more.
He is playing in the centre of midfield. Not on the left or in the hole but in his favoured position.
A position from where he is able to dominate, dictate and orchestrate just as he has done so frequently for Liverpool.
It has long been England's worst kept secret that Gerrard, while undoubtedly competent elsewhere on the field, is most effective as the nucleus from which the team around him can feed.
And yet, only now have we seen this system applied.
Because for too long, England managers have put their faith in the misguided ethos that the secret to success is to put all of the best players on the field and let them get on with it.
That has predominantly seen Gerrard flanked by the domestically free scoring but internationally inept Frank Lampard.
In the absence of the injured Chelsea midfielder, Fabio Capello has stumbled across a winning system. A system for the future that is penetrative, dynamic and Lampard-free.
Key to its application is the presence of a defensively minded partner alongside Gerrard.
Currently that role is being filled by the impressively efficient Gareth Barry who provides discipline and consequently releases the shackles that have hitherto restrained the stand-in skipper.
Lampard does not provide that service, far from it. He too is reliant on an aforementioned enforcer (Claude Makelele, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel etc) to counteract his attacking intent.
After back to back victories against Bulgaria and Switzerland, Capello would go some way to proving some of his harshest post World Cup critics correct if he were to attempt to fix an unbroken machine by recasting Lampard as Gerrard's suppressor-in-chief.