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Footballer Profile – Frank Lampard

Footballer Profile – Frank Lampard

Few people who have won 76 caps for England, scoring 20 goals in the process, have divided the nation’s football fans as much as Frank Lampard. Lamps, if you’re a fan; Fat Frank, if you’re not.

Not many England players have actually been booed by the Wembley crowd whilst they’re representing their country – John Barnes in 1994 and Ashley Cole more recently come to mind. It happened to Frank Lampard, though, in a qualifying match against Estonia in October, 2007.

And yet this was a player who had been selected in the Team of the Tournament at Euro 2004, as well as being runner-up the year later as both FIFA World Player of the Year and European Footballer of the Year.

However, having to prove points to his own team’s followers has always seemed to be a part of the game for Frank Lampard. Born 31 years ago into a modern footballing dynasty – his dad was an England full back and won the FA Cup twice with West Ham and his uncle is Harry Redknapp – Lampard firstly had to prove his worth to some sceptical West Ham fans who thought he had his place in the first team more through nepotism than playing ability. Even after 148 games, with 24 goals, there were still some who questioned his worth. It was at this time that the Fat Frank epithet became quite commonly heard, despite the player’s obviously phenomenal ability to run up and down the pitch non-stop for 90 minutes.

An academically very bright young man – he famously acquired an A Grade in his Latin GCSE – it was probably for the best when, in 2001, he eventually moved across London to join Chelsea – making West Ham more than £11 million. By this time he had already represented England at full international level and this move enabled Frank Lampard to undoubtedly establish himself as one of Europe’s best midfield players.

During his time at Chelsea, Lampard has been an ever-present first choice and has always been admired by the club’s successive managers. Supporters, of course, will talk mostly of his goals – he has so far scored 136 in all competitions. Only legends Bobby Tambling, Kerry Dixon, Roy Bentley and Peter Osgood have scored more for the club than Lampard who is, don’t forget, primarily a midfield player. His game is far more than just being a goalscorer, though. Never afraid to tackle, track back and do the unglamorous parts of a midfielder’s job, his combative nature is matched by a calm temperament on the pitch; a calmness that no doubt has helped him become one of the English game’s most reliable penalty takers.

Frank rose in the estimation of many people when he handled the tragic loss of his mother in such a dignified manner in April 2008, and in the unashamed way he has remembered her in his goal celebrations since then.

In his time at Chelsea, Frank has won every honour in the domestic game, as well as being Chelsea’s Player of the Year on three occasions, England Player of the Year and Barclays Player of the Year twice. He will now be hoping to make this season the most memorable of his career by helping Chelsea win their first Champions’ league trophy and perhaps be part of an England squad that makes it past the Quarter Finals of the 2010 World Cup next summer.

If he’s successful, those Fat Frank jibes will seem like a very distant memory.