As news of Frank Lampard’s retirement broke today and with Steven Gerrard recently announced as one of Liverpool’s academy coaches following his retirement last year, I felt now was a good time to write about the two players and give my tribute to them.
Both players were lynchpins of their respective club’s midfields. Gerrard, a lung-busting box to box midfielder, dragged Liverpool through multiple games spanning more than a decade and would so often be the go-to guy when they needed him most, with performances in the Champions League final of 2005 and the FA Cup final of 2006 being particular highlights. He was known for the “screamer”, hitting his shots with incredible power that left the keeper with no chance if it was on target. Under Benitez, he also showed his guile to pick a pass and was lauded for his creativity and understanding of the game when playing as a #10 just behind Fernando Torres (in which he shone).
Lampard’s style was slightly different, but just as crucial. With the Abramovich money transforming Chelsea from top 4 challengers to Premier League and Champions League winners, Lampard was the man in midfield who kept the side ticking over and scored the goals to propel the club to heights never previously seen at Stamford Bridge. I have lost count the amount of times which I have seen Lampard lurking just outside the penalty area, waiting for the clearance from a defender, only for him to smash it in to the top corner yet again. It was what he built his career on; 15+ goals a season, year in, year out. In the first Jose Mourinho Chelsea
Both midfielders were widely regarded as two of the best in the world in their position at one stage and the amount of tributes pouring in from other professional Footballers all over the world congratulating them on their retirements shows just how good they both were – Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Luis Suarez, John Terry, Carles Puyol and many more have taken to social media recently to write tributes about both.
The dilemma of how they never fully reached their full potential playing in midfield together for England may never be answered, but the contributions they made for Liverpool and Chelsea respectively will never be forgotten. They are two of the best midfielders we have ever produced in this country. They raised the bar and they re-defined the role of a midfielder for generations to come.