When England crashed out of World Cup 2010 in such ignominious circumstances I wanted nothing more than for the Football Association to stick two collective fingers up at 2012, 2014 and 2016 and concentrate on a strategic and robust approach to World Cup 2018. So when Frank Lampard continued to receive call-ups, I was frustrated at the lack of any intention to progress. After all, he’s getting on a bit. For a footballer, anyway.
Fast-forward to December 2011, six-and-a-bit months out from UEFA Euro 2012, and Lampard is still a starter for his country and the circumstances have changed. I’d argue that he’s still earning his place in the squad by virtue of solid club form, and the long-term approach of which I was such a vocal advocate has not come about. In the short-term Lampard has more of a case for inclusion.
With that in mind, I’m kicking off the Head to Head series with a simple question: should Frank Lampard be in England’s squad for Euro 2012? I’ve enlisted a couple of my fellow writers to argue each side of the debate, and at the end of it the question will be opened up to a vote. Basics.
Lampard should be in the squad
I believe that Frank Lampard SHOULD be going to the Euros for a number of reasons. First of all, his experience. I know people have a pop at Lampard for England but let’s not forget he is asked to play a very different role. He isn’t used in the same way he is at Chelsea and finds his role restricted.
He has a huge wealth of big-game experience that will help the younger players, especially if England get to the latter stages. This surely has to be of a benefit to the manager also.
Lampard is fit as a fiddle and, with the way things are going at Chelsea, hasn’t played a full season of football for nearly two seasons now. As a result will have plenty in the tank for the Euros next summer.
The main reason I believe he should go, however, is because England doesn’t have anyone else like him in midfield. Name me someone else in that squad who can score or has the potential to score goals from midfield like Lampard can. He is the master of the late run and time and time again gets himself into goalscoring positions that others in midfield wouldn’t even think of.
The fact that Frank Lampard has consistently scored 20+ goals a season for over five seasons now says it all. England could be faced with a situation where they would need to nick a goal from somewhere. With Wayne Rooney suspended for two games the pressure will be on our forwards, who would lack the big-game experience.
Lampard could be the man to get us through and that’s why we should take him.
Lampard should not be in the squad
James Griffiths is a football writer who specialises in non-league and can be found primarily at The Matlock Fan, which provides excellent coverage of the travails of Matlock Town. You can follow James on Twitter: @TheMatlockFan
After World Cup 2010 in South Africa the press demanded young fresh faces in the England squad, as did the fans. Fabio Capello brought in the likes of Jack Wilshere, Kyle Walker, Jack Rodwell and a host of other names who have taken part in numerous friendlies and impressed. But if England take Frank Lampard to the Euros then it will be a step back on any progress that was made in 2011.
I believe that Lampard is a gifted player when it comes to playing for Chelsea, but for me he has never done the job in a England shirt that I think he is capable of. If fans want a “new” England, Capello must take the risk of leaving Lampard out and giving his place to a new face.
Another reason would be that the so-called “Golden Generation” is now in its 30s. With Lampard at the age of 33, there is no advancement or will to move forward if players are just getting a spot on the plane because of their names. England should be blooding players in at major tournaments and giving them experience on the big stage so we do not have a repeat of a side that chokes under pressure.
Some would point to the fact that he is a leader on the pitch and a man who can be relied on to score from the spot, but it’s well known that as footballers advance into their later years then they lose that extra yard of pace and can become more injury prone. You’ve only got a squad of 23 players for the whole of the tournament and injury is not a risk that I feel England or Capello should take.
It’s my opinion that if England want success then, like Germany, they need to say, “Thank you, Frank, but your services will not be needed for this tournament,” and give younger players much needed experience on the big stage. Let’s not have another Scott Parker, where managers are frightened to put him in the team because of the fear of upsetting a household name.
And let’s hope Capello is brave enough to make this decision, because if he is not then I fear we could very easily see a repeat of the World Cup.
So, there are the key arguments for and agin Lampard’s inclusion by Fabio Capello next summer. You can vote on whether you think he should be include in the TSC poll on Facebook. Why not like the page while you’re at it?
(Photo credit: wonker via Flickr)