During the enforced break from John’s regular column, English Premier League Predictions For Saturday, it is with great pleasure that we publish the first of the best of 3 series where this week, John looks at three of the best English midfielders Lampard, Gerrard or Scholes to see who had the most impact on the international stage! There will be plenty more to come from John, as the hiatus continues, so check back regularly.
To the regular readers of this column, they will know that the best English midfielder of the lot of them is,
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So although this is a Best of 3, there’s a slight anomaly to that and Michael is put in, as a sort of ‘Best of 4’.
During the early noughties, there was a constant debate as to whether Lampard and Gerrard could play in the same England team.
In a recent interview on the popular radio station TalkSport, the legendary Tommy Cockles spoke about his time singing with Dame Vera Lynn just after World War Two and although complimenting the great Dame, referenced that it was similar to the Lampard and Gerrard situation, that whilst both brilliant individuals, they couldn’t work together.
Paul Scholes is the older of the 3-great players, yet is the one who has the least International caps, 66 in total.
Steven Gerrard is the youngest and has the most International caps with 114.
Frank Lampard is in the middle, both in terms of age and International appearances with 106 caps.
Lamps made his debut for England in 1999, aged 21.
Although a Chelsea legend, Frank made his debut for the Three Lions whilst playing for his first club, West Ham.
Frank Lampard played in the 1975 FA Cup final for West Ham against Fulham.
Before everyone starts screaming at their I patches and Blueberry’s, Lamp’s dad is also called Frank and also played for West Ham in the 1960s,70s and 80s.
Frank Senior followed up his 1975 FA Cup winners medal with another one in 1980.
Frank’s wife Patricia is the twin sister of Harry Redknapp’s missus, Sandra.
Both Frank and Harry married their sweethearts whilst both playing for the Hammers.
Meaning Harry’s son Jamie Redknapp and Lamps Junior are cousins.
When Harry then became manager of West Ham in 1994, Lampard Junior was a youth player that Harry brought into his first team in 1996 however in March of the following year, Frank broke his leg that ended his season.
There is a clip on YouTube dating back to 1996 when Harry Redknapp and Frank Lampard Junior are hosting a West Ham fans Q and A.
One of the questions put to Harry was why had he let Scott Canham and Matty Holland leave the Bubbles but kept Frank, who the fan asking the question, inter-mated that Frank was only retained because of him being Harry’s nephew.
Frank junior just sat there, fully composed, having to take the words of the questionnaire on board.
Some would say abuse but it wasn’t really abusive from the fan, he was just giving his opinion that he thought Matty Holland and Scott Canham were better players than Lamps.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, it’s just how that opinion is presented.
There’s no reason to include personal abuse into an opinion about someone.
Mr Redknapp’s response was bold, taking on the fan by saying that Frank Lampard will go to the very top in the game.
Bearing in mind this was 1996, 24-years ago, a bold statement by Harry, yet one that certainly came true.
Matty Holland went on to have a great career, including Captaining Ipswich Town in the 2000 Championship Play-Off final where the Tractor Boys beat Barnsley FC by a 4-2 scoreline, gaining promotion to the Promised Land. What was funny about Matty that day is the Republic of Ireland midfielder, famously belted out the English National Anthem-God Save The Queen.
Roy Keane was not happy.
Regular readers of this EveryTip column will know that John Newsome is a massive Barnsley FC fan.
The Reds of Oakwell, although losing in that 2000 Play-Off, are one of the 49-clubs that have graced the Premier League.
In 1997, under the guidance of Danny Wilson (not the singers of Mary’s Prayer!) Barnsley gained promotion to the Top Flight.
On the opening day of the historic season, August 9th, 1997, Barnsley FC, entertained West Ham.
Oakwell legend Neil Redfearn gave the Reds the lead in the 1st-half, giving the faithful hope of a Premier League opening day victory.
Unfortunately, the Hammers showed their Top Flight experience and wore down Barnsley, with Big John Hartson equalising just afternoon the break.
In the 75th-minute, Harry introduced a young 19-year old Frank Lampard, who within minutes of coming on to the hallowed Oakwell turf, scored, what turned out to be the Bubbles winner.
Five days later, this EveryTip contributor became a father for the one and only time (as of publishing!)
What a brilliant week for the lad, despite Big Frank scoring the winner against the Super Reds.
Frank was in and out of the West Ham team that particular season and had a certain Rio Ferdinand as his teammate.
Another teammate a year or two later was Michael Carrick, where Frank scored on Carrick’s full debut back in January 2000.
West Ham allowed Frank to leave Upton Park in the summer of 2001 when Chelsea paid a fee of around £11 Million for his services.
Frank took a while to score his first Chelsea Premier League goal, notching in a 5-1 victory against Bolton just before Christmas in 2001.
In total, Lampard scored 177 Premier League goals and is currently 5th on the All-Time Premier League goalscoring chart, behind Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Andy Cole and Sergio Aguero, and has 2-more than the great Thierry Henry( EveryTip’s10 Interesting English Premier League Records & Statistics).
Frank also has the distinction of being Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer with 211-total goals for the Blues.
What’s remarkable about all those goalscoring achievements is Lampard was a midfielder, not a striker.
Along with the goals, Lamps has provided many assists for his teammates throughout his career.
With 3-Premier League titles, 4-FA Cups, 2-League Cups, 1-Europa League Cup and a Champion’s League medal, Frank is up there with the best midfielders of a generation, rivalling Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
Lamps suffered the heartache of defeat in the 2008 Champions League final, when Manchester United and Chelsea ventured over to Moscow and played out a 1-1 draw, with Frank getting the Blues goal following CR7’s opener.
In the rain of Russia, Chelsea lost the subsequent penalty shootout with John Terry famously slipping before his kick.
John’s phrase afterwards was, ‘bloomin rain’
Cristiano himself, missed his spot-kick, however, the rest of the United players, including Carlos Tevez, Michael Carrick, Owen Hargreaves, Nani, Anderson (remember him!) and Ryan Giggs all scored.
Frank took Chelsea’s 3rd to make it 3-2 after Ronaldo’s miss.
Michael Ballack and Juliano Belletti had matched Tevez and Carrick.
Ashley Cole scored to make it 4-3, and when Nani had made it 4-4, all John had to do was score and the Blues were champions.
Unfortunately, the rain helped United with the big skipper slipping.
Ryan Giggs then made it 6-5, with Nicolas Anelka having to score Chelsea’s 7th after Salomon Kalou had scored Chelsea’s 5th.
Unfortunately, Nicolas had his kick saved by Man of the Match ‘keeper, Edwin Van Der Sar and United were the European Champions.
Frank Lampard did get his hands on a Champions League medal 4-years later in 2012.
In similar circumstances to the game against United, Chelsea drew the match against Bayern Munich by a 1-1 scoreline.
The game then went to penalties but this time Chelsea were victorious.
Frank again took the 3rd spot-kick and converted.
Juan Mata had missed the opening kick but David Luiz, Lamps, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba all scored to give the Blues a 4-3 victory.
Philipp Lahm, Mario Gomez and Manuel Neuer(the German goalkeeper) had given Bayern a 3-2 advantage, however, Ivica Olic and the Munich legend Bastian Schweinsteiger both missed to hand Chelsea the crown in Bayern Munich’s own backyard.
On International duty, Frank achieved 106 caps, scoring a total of 29-goals for the Three Lions.
Another great achievement for a midfielder and is credited with the introduction of Goal Line Technology.
Whilst that isn’t strictly true, during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Franks speculative shot just before half-time, in the Last-16 game against Germany, clearly crossed the line, that would have given Lamps 30-International goals, however, inexplicably the linesman and referee said the ball, that rebounded down from the cross-bar, didn’t cross the line.
At the time, that would have given England an equaliser and taken both teams in at half-time level at 2-2.
In the 1966 World Cup final, England had a goal awarded against West Germany when the same thing happened.
Fifty-Four years later, there are still arguments about whether the ball did or didn’t go over.
In 2010, in Bloemfontein, there wasn’t any argument, Frank’s shot was a yard over and should have stood.
The Germans will think justice has been restored.
England went on to lose that game by a 4-1 scoreline, whether going in at the break at 2-2, would have made a difference, is debatable, as England with Lampard and Gerrard were outclassed in the 2nd-half.
Gareth Barry famously treading water when Mesut Ozil ran past him to set up Germany’s 4th.
If buts and Barry’s.
Thankfully, goal-line technology is in place and that shouldn’t happen again, however, the dreaded VAR still needs work.
Uncle Harry Redknapp was quite right back in 1996, Frank Lampard Junior as gone to the very top and is now the manager of Chelsea FC.
Steven Gerrard is the baby of the 3, on the verge of celebrating his 40th-birthday in a couple of weeks, unfortunately for Steve, unable to go out to a restaurant or boozer to celebrate.
It could be worse Stevie G, if John Newsome told all how he celebrated his 40th, most would be in tears.
There’s a song that a lot of fans sing about Gerrard, which basically goes, ‘have you ever seen Gerrard win the league? have you ever seen Gerrard win the league?’ etc etc.
Well, the simple answer is No!
Whilst winning virtually every other trophy on offer in his glittering 17-year, one-club career, Stevie G and Liverpool never won the Premier League.
One-club if the 34-games for LA Galaxy don’t count.
Technically that was just a jolly for Stevie G, however, does ruin his one-club reputation.
Gerrard made his debut in November 1998, aged 18, coming on as a substitute for the Liverpool legend Vegard Heggam (who?).
The first few appearances usually were as a substitute coming on for Vegard. Steve scored his 1st-Liverpool goal, a year after his debut, against Sheffield Wednesday in a 4-1 victory.
The goal scored became the type of goal, synonymous with Gerrard, picking the ball up in the centre of the pitch, driving on and beating 2-Wednesday players, before firing home a finish.
A couple of years later, Gerrard won the 1st of his many medals the 2001-League Cup.
That season, Liverpool and Steven added the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup to their trophy cabinet, along with the subsequent Super Cup.
In total, Gerrard has 2-FA Cups, 3-League Cups, 1-UEFA Cup and 1-Super Cup.
Probably the highlight of Stevie Gs career is the 2005 European Champions League final, where, trailing 3-0 at half-time against AC Milan, Gerrard inspired his Reds to the greatest of all comebacks.
“When you get homesick, nothing will stop you returning to the arms of those you love…The European Cup didn’t fancy Paolo.
She wanted Steven but it took a series of remarkable chat-up lines from the Liverpool manager to ensure his skipper got his wicked way.
The only reason Liverpool weren’t fatally wounded by a first-half blitz is the fortunate fact immortals can’t be destroyed.
Gerrard and company have rewritten football “possibilities” throughout this campaign but even the heroic efforts of Olympiakos, Juventus and Chelsea were rendered insignificant compared to this.
It shouldn’t have happened.
Some of us aren’t convinced it did.
Only the pinch marks confirm it.
We thought it was all over.
The LiverpoolEcho match report
A brilliant post-match report that puts Steven Gerrard’s Man of the Match performance in that final into perspective.
Liverpool were losing after just 4-minutes when the great Paulo Maldini gave the Rossoneri the lead.
Hernan Crespo made it 2 and 3 nil going into the break.
This EveryTip contributor was watching the game in the Walkabout in Barnsley town centre, which is a pub (remember those)!
It’s exactly 15-years ago virtually to the day that Gerrard lead his boys out for the 2nd-half in Istanbul and got an early goal.
Steve getting the 1st of the 3-needed.
What’s probably got forgotten in the aftermath of the victory is Liverpool weren’t very good and Steve Finnan got roasted many times in the 1st-half, which, stood in the Aussie bar in Barnsley, supping a few liveners, was clear to see.
Rafa Benitez took the unfortunate Finnan off at the interval and brought on Dietmar Hamann who had a brilliant 2nd-half controlling the midfield and slowly got Liverpool back into the game.
Vladimir Smicer, who actually was another substitute but was introduced in the 23rd-minute as a replacement for the injured Harry Kewell, scored the 2nd, a couple of minutes after Gerrard’s opener.
Most think Liverpool’s 3rd-goal on the hour mark was a Xabi Alonso penalty. Steven Gerrard won the penalty, however, Xabi actually had his spot-kick saved, luckily the ball came back to him and he netted the equaliser.
There were a few scares in the final 30-minutes but the game finished in a 3-3 scoreline and after an additional 30-minutes, it was penalties.
Milan missed their opening 2-penalties, the great Andrea Pirlo, missing the 2nd.
Dietmar and Djibril Cisse gave Liverpool an early advantage.
Milan scored their next 2 after John Arne Riise missed Liverpool’s 3rd. Vladimir Smicer made it 3-2 with 4-penalties each and if Andre Schevchenko missed Milan’s 5th, Liverpool were the new European Champions.
Whilst Andre’s penalty was struck down the middle of the goal and Jersy Dudek dove, he managed to get his left paw on the ball, saving the spot-kick giving the Reds their 5th-European title, lifted by Man if the Match Steven Gerrard.
In the pub in Barnsley, the local Liverpool fans were ecstatic throwing the ale everywhere, on hearing the rowdiness, 2-bouncers, similar to the 2-characters from Phoenix Nights, Max and Paddy, came rushing in to sort things out.
On seeing about 200 lads and lasses throwing the beer about, Max and Paddy decided it was in their best interest, to let the frivolity continue.
A brilliant performance from Stevie G but a tactical masterstroke from Rafa, replacing Steven Finnan with Dietmar Hamann.
Like Frank earlier, Stevie G has also suffered Champions League heartache when AC Milan exacted revenge for the 2005 defeat.
Two years after the great night in Istanbul, Liverpool again took on AC Milan, this time in Athens.
There were no heroics from Steve and the Reds in Greece, with the Rossoneri winning the final comfortably despite the close scoreline of 2-1.
Filippo Inzaghi getting both the Milan goals with Dirk Kuyt replying for the Reds.
In the Liverpool team that night was a certain Javier Mascherano, wonder what happened to him.
The Robot man Peter Crouch got a run out too, however, couldn’t influence the proceedings.
Steven Gerrard’s International career is on a par with Frank Lampard with Gerrard gaining slightly more caps than Frank’s 106.
With 114-England caps, Steve is 4th on the all-time appearance list behind Peter Shilton, Wayne Rooney and David Beckham, not bad company and is in an elite group of 9 that have over 100 lids.
The frustration for the English football fan and follower is that Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard didn’t achieve anything in the 220-caps the two have between them.
That’s not an opinion it’s clear facts, Steven made his England debut a day after his 20th-birthday in 2000 and in only his 6th-game, played and scored in the famous 5-1 victory against Germany in Munich, scoring just before half-time to take England in at the break leading 2-1.
The 1st-England game that involved the 2-midfield greats came in a friendly away against Holland, however, Frank was a substitute and came on in the 77th-minute, just as Steven was exiting so didn’t actually play at the same time in the 1-1 draw against the Netherlands.
Obviously, in the 220-England games, the two great midfielders played in, there were a lot of victories, the annoyance for the football faithful is that in the key games, such as the Quarter-Final of the World Cup in 2004, against CR7s Portugal, which really was the first key game the 2 had played together.
The game finished 2-2 at full-time and England subsequently lost the penalty shootout (cause they did!).
Frank Lampard scored the 115th-minute equaliser to take the game to penalties.
Frank did score his ‘kick but Stevie G had been taken off before the end so wasn’t involved.
This was the tournament that Wayne Rooney made a name for himself, scoring 2-brilliant goals against Croatia in the 4-2 victory.
Unfortunately in the game against Portugal, Wayne suffered an injury early on and was replaced by Darius Vassell.
The unlucky Darius along with David Beckham, both missed their kicks, resulting in another penalty shootout woe for the Three Lions.
On to the World Cup in Germany’2006.
In the first fixture against Paraguay, Cockles and Lynn were in the midfield where England laboured to a 1-0 victory.
This EveryTip contributor was one of the 48,000 fans in attendance at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt that afternoon.
Travelling on the day from Cologne, where the lads had a great weekend on the sauce.
Jump to the Quarter-Finals on July the 1st and another contest against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.
The game again went to penalties, however, this time the game finished 0-0.
Again England had to play a portion of the fixture without Wayne Rooney who was shown a Red Card for an incident with Ricardo Carvalho.
Cristiano gave us all a little smile and a wink.
Beckham had left the field due to injury before the kicks were taken.
The usually assured Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard both missed their spot-kicks.
England actually missed 3 out of the 4 taken with only Owen Hargreaves converting.
Bob Carolgees’ mate, Jamie Carragher also missed.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored Portugal’s 5th to send them through to the Semi-Finals.
In 2008, things got worse when England didn’t even qualify for the Euros in Austria and Switzerland.
Frank and Steve both played in the disastrous last home game at Wembley, where the two of them couldn’t inspire the Three Lions to victory against Croatia.
Frank did score a penalty to get England back in the game after trailing 2-0.
The Wally with the brolly, Steve McClaren, ended English hopes and everyone had a summer watching Tennis.
It’s already been documented about 2010 in South Africa.
It was a goal, Big Frank!
Moving on to the Euros in 2012, Lampard didn’t make Roy Hodgson’s squad.
Now aged 33, Lampard suffered a thigh injury just before the start of the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
A chance for Stevie G and Michael Carrick perhaps?
No, Roy chose Scott ‘I’ll get the ball off John Terry then pass it to the other Centre-Back’ Parker.
Mr Carrick sat at home polishing his many medals he had won.
No Rio Ferdinand either, due to him and Terry having differences.
Another penalty shootout defeat this time against Italy in the Quarter-Final.
Push on to the World Cup in 2014, out in Brazil, the Golden Generation of Rio, JT, Beckham, Ashley Cole, Stevie G and Frank, along with Wayne Rooney was slowly coming to an end.
Rio and JT had gone, Becks was selling Whiskey that he doesn’t drink and Ash was eating Pasta in Rome, just Frank, Steve and Wayne left.
It’s forgive-able if the tournament in Brazil is long forgotten because England were literally rhubarb.
A 2-1 defeat against Italy in the opener, another 2-1 defeat against Uruguay in the 2nd, Gerrard at one point thought he was playing at Liverpool and headed on for his mate, Louis Suarez to score.
Then in the final Group game, England drew 0-0 in a dismal game against Porto Rico.
In the game against Italy, it was Stevie G and Jordan Henderson.
Mario Balotelli (Why always me?) getting the winner for the Italians.
Same against Uruguay, with Frank sitting on the bench for both games.
In the final one against Costa Coffee, Frank started whilst Steven sat on the bench.
Probably the most significant point to the whole Lampard/Gerrard debate was that both were on the pitch for the final 20-minutes against the Costa Ricans and couldn’t inspire the Three Lions to a much-needed victory.
This was Steven Gerrard’s 106th and final England cap.
Coincidentally it was Frank Lampard’s 114th and final England cap too, both bowing out of the International stage at the same time.
A damning indictment of a wasted generation of English football.
Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, when playing together, like Tommy Cockles and Vera Lynn, the magic simply didn’t happen.
Recently Graham Souness gave a somewhat negative opinion about Paul Pogba, to which, Paul responded by saying he wasn’t sure who Graham was.
Whilst a lot was made of the fact that Graham is a legend of the game and maybe Paul was being a little disrespectful, what’s forgotten is Paul is 40-years younger than Graham.
Older football fans know Graham Souness but the youths don’t, so Paul should be forgiven.
That said, Paul and the rest of the FIFA’20 brigade, just need to YouTube some of Graham’s best moments whilst playing for Liverpool, Sampdoria and Glasgow Rangers.
One word, Brutal!
The old cliche ‘put your medals on the table’ was slung into the conversation from Graham and whilst Graham has a bucket load, including 3-European Cups, Paul does have the top biscuit in his cabinet, a World Cup winners gong.
If medals were thrown on the table between Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Michael Carrick, Mr Carrick has the most.
One of the most decorated English footballers of all time, winning everything, yet the England National team managers couldn’t fit Michael into the team and chose Frank and Steve.
No one can say what would have happened if Michael had been given more of a chance with England but Sir Alex Ferguson believed in Michael, just a pity the England managers didn’t.
Paul Scholes is the daddy of the trio, being a few years older than the others.
When talking of showing medals and being one of the most decorated English players of all times, a little Ginger-haired kid, comes to the party.
Paul Scholes blasts Frankie L and Stevie G out of the water when it comes to medals and trophies.
Here goes, 11-Premier League titles (11-more than Mr Gerrard!), 3-FA Cups, 2-League Cups, 1-European Champions League, 1-Super Cup, 1-World Club Cup and the standard Community Shields.
One trophy that Paul hasn’t won is the UEFA Cup that Frank, Steve and Michael have.
Making his debut in 1994, Paul is a true one-club man, with his 11-Premier League titles spanning almost 20-years.
There’s only 2 out of the 13-Premier League titles, United have won, not in Paul’s cabinet and they are the 1992/93 and 1993/94 victories.
Blackburn won the title in Paul’s debut season of 1994/95, then it was trophy after trophy for the little Salford boy.
There are some very distinctive names from the football world that have heaped praise on Paul Scholes.
The Spanish legend Xavi rates Paul as the best midfielder ever, Pele says he’d have scored a lot more if Scholes was supplying the assists.
Dennis Bergkamp says Paul is simply brilliant, Zinedine Zidane, who could play a bit, rates Scholesy as one of the greats and George Best, simply says Paul is the best.
Paul Scholes is the complete midfielder who could pass through an eye of a needle, kick with both feet, run from box-to-box and score spectacular goals, as well as the odd tap-in.
Probably one thing missing from his armour is tackling but he didn’t need to, Roy Keane did that for him.
It’s probably inconceivable to think that Paul didn’t make EveryTip’s All-Time Manchester United Premier League Best Eleven but there were only eleven shirts and Keano got the nod.
Similar to Roy Keane, Scholes missed the 1999 European Champions League final due to picking up 2-Yellow Cards, ruling him out of the final.
The little Gingerbread man did make up for that 9-years later, eventually getting his hands on the coveted top European trophy, when United beat Chelsea in Moscow.
Paul’s international career started in 1997 and was included in the 1998 World Cup squad for the trip to France.
Against Argentina in the Last-16, Paul was waiting for Michael Owen to pass to him when young Michael ran through the Argentine defence, Owen was having none of passing to Scholes and scored a superb goal.
Although only a little fella, Paul did get a few goals with his head, memorably one in a hat-trick at Wembley against Poland in 1999.
Some will say he scored 2-headers in that game against Poland but the 2nd of the 3 came off his hand.
Not exactly Diego-Esq but still not a header.
Scholes went to the Euros in 2000 and started all 3-games.
At the World Cup in 2002, in Japan and South Korea, Paul played in all 5-games culminating in the loss against Brazil in the Quarter-Final.
Paul Scholes called time on his international career after the Euros in 2004 where England lost again in a penalty shootout.
This tournament, with Sven-Goran Ericsson in charge, literally saw Sven try and fit Lampard, Gerard and Scholes into his midfield but ultimately couldn’t inspire progress past the Quarters.
The game against Portugal in June 2004 was Paul’s 66th and final appearance for the Three Lions as Scholes decided that England wasn’t for him and wanted to concentrate on his club football and family life.
Considering that Paul was only 29 at the time and probably in his prime, it was remarkable that he called time on his international career.
Maybe he saw the iceberg in the fact that the future England managers would try, at all cost, to fit in Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard with little Paul pushed out wide.
Again, another damning indictment on the England National team managers.
Whilst it’s without a doubt that Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes are truly World Class players, the many different England managers should have been able to get more out of the team by trying different combinations and not just blindly picking Frank and Steven.
One thing that is for certain is, taking the England disappointments out of the equation, Frank, Steve, Michael and Paul have given the footballing fraternity endless amount of joy over the last 20-years or so.
We Want Football Back!