It’s official now: Frank Lampard is leaving Chelsea. Although his next destination has not been confirmed yet, there are strong reports that the midfielder will join New York City FC, who will feature in the MLS for the first time in 2015.
Lampard will turn 36 later this month, and it is pretty much clear that he is past his best. Make no mistake, he still remains a class player and can still contribute with his goals and creativity, but the England international is not at the same level he was a few years ago.
Following his announcement to leave Chelsea, the former West Ham United star has been hailed by many footballing figures, including Manchester City midfielder James Milner, who is currently with Lampard on international duty.
‘Players have ups and downs in their career, but every season he delivers and the example is set for the younger players coming in’, Sky Sports quotes the 28-year-old as saying.
Sometimes one misses the obvious until it is pointed out. Milner has done just that. At almost 36, Lampard is still a consistent figure and was an important part of the Chelsea team. Last season, he made 20 Premier League starts under Jose Mourinho, the season before 21, and in their Champions League-winning 2011-12 campaign, the veteran played in 30 league matches.
There has always been a debate among football fans who between Lampard and Steven Gerrard the better footballer is. Some claim that the Liverpool midfielder is because of the way he has been carrying the Reds over the years and his drive from midfield. However, others underline the calm and intelligent way that Lampard has played over the years, sitting back and reading the game and then making moves forward to score important goals.
Whether or not Lampard is a better midfielder than Gerrard is up for debate, but Milner’s comments about the former being a consistent figure even in his mid-30s is something that everyone is bound to agree with.