Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughFrankly the End - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Frankly the End - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Frankly the End

Over the past few weeks, things have really been tough on Chelsea’s Frank Lampard.

The man who was once the Blues talisman was dropped for England, taken off at half time at Old Trafford and was even an unused substitute at home to Swansea on Saturday. But is this Frank Lampard going out of form, or is this Frank Lampard slowly going out of football?

For me personally, it’s the latter.

With the emphasise from club and country clearly on youth at the moment, the 33-year old has had to make do with a limited role in the side for which he used to create chances, score endless goals and win matches for.

Last season Frank made 36 appearances in all for Chelsea and England, scoring 15 times. Compare this to year before where he played 62 times and hit the back of the net 30 times (31 times if you insist that the Germany ‘goal’ should be in there) and Lampard’s playing time halved in a year.

His reduced matches last season can be put down to injury but with young players being the hot topic of the moment for managers (See Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger), the free-scoring midfield may have to get used to spending more time in the dugout.

This season, under new management at Stamford Bridge, he has only started five times coming off the bench twice and not featuring at all against his former club Swansea in the last match. On the national front, he only started for England versus Wales due to injuries elsewhere and was placed among Fabio Capello’s substitutes for the Euro 2012 qualifying victory in Bulgaria.

Why has Lampard been missing for England you say?

Well, Jack Wilshere has been chosen as the man to spearhead England’s rejuvenated squad ahead of Euro 2012, at the heart of the new 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 formations. His role as the attacking threat from the centre is backed up by Scott Parker and Gareth Barry to support the defence.

Could Lampard fit in this new set up? A few years ago, I’d have said yes.

He is no stranger to that line up having been featured in it for Chelsea week in week out during their title winning era but given his age and injury record as of late, Frank seems out of touch with the new breed of talent and is looking like the latest victim of Capello’s ‘out with the old and in with the new’ regime.

This same policy looks like it’s going to be implemented at Stamford Bridge under Villas-Boas. Starting on the bench for the Blues at the weekend, 18-year old Josh McEachran, like Wilshere for England, was preferred in the team at the expense of Lampard. Once again the young hot prospects triumph.

So what now for the man who used to be the first name of Chelsea’s teamsheet?

Having endured a frustrating first half against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Mr. Reliable was replaced at the break. In his place came another ageing player in Nicolas Anelka who instantly set up Fernando Torres’ goal to prove despite his age he may be more suited to Villas-Boas’ new style.

It’ll be interesting to see if Lampard features against Valencia on Wednesday, having been absent from the first eleven in the first Champions League match against Bayern Leverkusen.

Lampard could be about to go down the same road that Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs have done at United, with limited starts and a new role in the side to help nurture the future of the club.

As for the national side, I think that Lampard will be on the flight to Ukraine and Poland but I doubt he’ll feature too heavily in the tournament.

Lampard has been a tremendous servant to both Chelsea and England and has enjoyed a trophy-filled career, but now is the time that we will see Lampard’s football career slowly come to end and hopefully he will bow out at the top and as a Premier League Legend.

Matt Cotton @FindingCotton



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