Following England’s elimination from the World Cup, much has been written about the international futures of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.
Some have said it is time for both to retire, while others feel that in the case of the Liverpool midfielder in particular, he still has a big role to play.
Chelsea’s Lampard has recently come out to say he will make a decision about his England future when he returns from Brazil. But in truth the decision should be made for him. In fact it should be made for both men.
Gerrard and Lampard have been picked time and again for major international tournaments, and on each and every occasion the Three Lions have fallen considerably short. So surely it is time to make a decision on their behalf and simply stop picking them.
While that may sound harsh, would England have really fared worse if the likes of Ross Barkley had played from the start in the matches against Italy and Uruguay?
It is time to build a new team that can go into future tournaments with real hope. England have the young players, but until they are given the chance to show what they can do from the start the national side will continue to slip perilously close to minnow territory.
Four years ago in South Africa, Chile were a side full of youthful promise, and now look at them. Similarly Louis van Gaal has given his young Dutch players the chance to shine, while France look like a completely different side with the smattering of young talent in which Didier Deschamps confidently – and rightly – pins both his hopes and his reputation.
Gerrard and Lampard’s time has passed and the baton should be handed over to the next generation. So while Hodgson has already asked the Liverpool skipper to play on, it is the wrong call.
Change is needed, and with four years to prepare for the next World Cup, there is no better time to begin.