There's only two Frank Lampards and they are heading for an FA Cup clash

13 February 2009 09:54
So what makes Frankie run? 'Self-motivation,' says Lampard Snr, whose job it is to advise Watford on how to stop young Frank running riot for Chelsea

in tomorrow's FA Cup tie.

'That's what makes it so hard to put the blocks on my boy,' says Frank the Elder. 'If he was just playing for the money or the fame it would be a bit easier. But he's not. First and foremost he plays for his reputation as a professional and for the team.

'That's one reason I'm so proud of him and why he never stops running. But it makes him bloody tough to beat.'

Sound advice: 'I told him not to be a claggy full back like his dad. I knewhe had the talent to be the complete midfielder.'

The history of civil wars weighs heavy with the tragic pitching of brother against brother but not often does football send father against son. Not that the two Frank Lampards are killing themselves over the mischievous vagary of this fifth-round draw. Less so since they share an even rarer distinction as Dad and Lad winners of the game's most ancient tin pot.

As the old England full back past and I sat down to lunch, the young England playmaker phoned in and said: 'Tell 'em just to let me run myself into the ground on Saturday, Dad.'

'Yeah, yeah,' came the reply. 'I'll tell 'em to catch you, if they can.'

Chelsea are a club in upheaval. No change there then — but not in Lampard Jnr, either. He still wants to play every minute of every match as if his life depends on it.

Which makes it baffling for his father, among many, that England managers find it so absurdly difficult to fit both him and Steven Gerrard into a national team not overburdened with world-class talent; witness Wednesday's salutary defeat in Spain.

More of that later. The next question is: What started Frankie running?

Given his father's respected place in the annals of West Ham and England, the answer is fairly obvious. However, Dad's telling of that boyhood tale contains a wealth of surprises: 'I was a hard taskmaster. Got to admit it. I remember one day Frank was all over the place as his team got beat. He was only eight but I got stuck into him. I brought tears to his eyes.

'We were almost home so I thought I'd better drive round a bit before his Mum saw what I'd done. But Pat knew as soon as she looked at him, so I got told off as well.'

Peas from a pod: Lampard Snr and Jnr during their respective days at West Ham

The grief endured by husband and son when their beloved Pat died with premature suddenness last April has been painfully public. Among the myriad memories, Frank Snr recalls how she overcame his working-class reservations and insisted that their boy went to public school.

He says: 'It was one of the best things we could have done for him. He learned how to speak up for himself, built the confidence to handle any situation, acquired the self-belief not to be overawed in any company. Think about how that works on a football pitch.

'The way it worked out made me feel better about that day I was too hard on him. The odd thing was, I already knew by then that he was going to make it big-time. I'd known since he was six. I went to watch one of his first games in kids' football and half-way through he was wheezing with an asthma attack. I knew what it was because I'd had the same as a youngster.

'He was struggling so badly for breath that I thought he was going to die. But he refused to come off. Somehow he ran through it, kept going to the end and they won the game.'

As if his life depended on it? 'Yeah, that's how he is. I told you — self-motivation.'

A chip off the proverbial block? 'Well, when I left school in the East End most of my mates went to work in the docks. If I wanted something different I had to buckle down and give it everything.'

The history books give testament to that work ethic — more than 550 games at left back for West Ham capped off by a couple of England international appearances. Yet the advice was at variance with that specific experience: 'Young Frank started out as a grafter in midfield. He dug in and did his defensive duties like a trojan.

'But I told him to think beyond being a claggy full back like his dad. I said that if he really wanted to make the Lampard name, if he wanted the headlines, if he wanted to taste it all, then he had to do more. He had to score goals. And if he could do that and still keep up the workload, he would be the complete midfield player.

'I knew he had the talent and the stamina. Has he achieved it? What do you think?'

What do I think? The same as almost every manager and coach in the world, who would pay a Russian oligarch's ransom for a midfield player who scores 20 or more goals, season after season after season.

Tough choice? Lampard and Gerrard on England duty

So why the brow-beating over Lampard's place in the England team? His father has no qualms in saying: 'It's ridiculous. Of course I prefer my son but Stevie Gerrard isa great player, too. And how many great players have we got? It is the job of the England manager to fit them both into the side.

'For heaven's sake, it should not be difficult. Liverpool will tell you they've given up asking Gerrard to stop going forward all the time. My Frank has learned how to run the game from midfield but also to time his runs for goal. Tweak the system and getthe best out of both of them.'

Lampard Snr has hope that Fabio Capello will come to a solution. That optimism is based on his son's relationship with another Italian manager.

Claudio Ranieri left Chelsea to mixed reviews but Lampard says: 'Young Frank learned a lot from him. He learned not only to time his forward runs but to ration them to retain the element of surprise.'

Ranieri was one reason why the family Lampard assessed the move to Stamford Bridge in 2001 as ideal.

West Ham fans were angered by that decision but his father, who had returned there to work as a coach under his brother-in-law Harry Redknapp, insisted: 'The time was right. His father and his uncle had been shown the door, so Frank had to move on. It was lucky Chelsea came in the day before he was due to sign for Leeds United.

'First he had the benefit of Ranieri's wisdom. Then came Jose Mourinho. If the Special One had become manager of England he would have had no trouble using Frank and Stevie G in his team.'

Rapport: Lampard and Mourinho clench fists after knocking Barcelona out of 2005's Champions League

Frank Snr confirms the incredible rapport Mourinho establishes with his leading players: 'Jose talked with Frank all the time. He made him more mature, he kept goingover the detail of his game and improved him, he encouraged him to realise how great he could be. They still talk on the phone all the time. In human terms he became like a second father to him.'

The need for father and son to bond after Pat died was not the only factor in young Frank's rejection of last summer's offers from Spain and Italy.

Lampard Snr says: 'We discussed the experience he might gain abroad but also talked about what it is to be a London boy. He had to make the final decision but I did tell him that while I am sure he could succeed in Europe, he might never be loved the way he is now at Chelsea. There's no place like home.'

Even so, as the recently recruited consultant to new Watford manager Brendan Rodgers, he will try to make Vicarage Road one helluva place for his lad to visit tomorrow.

'This is the only game I've ever been involved in which I can't lose, even though we at Watford want to win like hell,' he was saying as the mobile rang again. His son told him Big Phil Scolari had been sacked.

So how will the Chelsea turmoil, Guus Hiddink and all, affect this good old English Cup-tie? 'Might be a little bit easier for us to pull off the upset,' says Watford's grand vizier. 'But only if we can stop Frank Lampard.'

 Following in their father's footsteps. PETER BOYLE: Sheffield United 1899, 1902, TOMMY BOYLE: Sheffield United 1925

HARRY JOHNSON SNR: Sheffield United 1899, 1902, HARRY JOHNSON JNR: Sheffield United 1925

JIMMY DUNN SNR: Everton 1933, JIMMY DUNN JNR: Wolves 1949

  FA Cup winnersALEC HERD: Manchester City 1934, DAVID HERD: Manchester United 1963

FRANK LAMPARD SNR: West Ham 1975, 1980, FRANK LAMPARD JNR: Chelsea 2007

 We can still win the title! New Chelsea boss Hiddink arrives with a message of intent

Lampard: Chelsea must improve under Hiddink or we'll finish outside the top four

New Chelsea boss Hiddink hints he may stay on with Blues beyond this season

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Source: Daily_Mail