Frank Lampard retired from football last week and the tributes have been pouring in for a player who is Chelsea’s record goalscorer.
Chelsea great Pat Nevin insists it would be a disservice to call Lampard one of Chelsea’s greats because he is in a group that is in a very rarefied atmosphere. He admits anyone who calls Lampard chelsea’s greatest player ever won’t be wrong.
“One guy who never failed to be hungry is Frank Lampard and it would be impossible to ignore his retirement from playing this week. I will not say anything that most people reading this do not know or feel about the man already,” Nevin wrote in his Chelsea official website column.
“Again it would be a disservice to simply call him one of Chelsea’s greats. He is in a group that is in a very rarefied atmosphere. For many, he may actually be the greatest ever Chelsea player and I probably wouldn’t pick a fight with anyone who said that. He is without a doubt up there when you consider his goals, assists, work-rate, longevity, bravery, fitness, attitude, professionalism, success, trophies, effect on others, selflessness, popularity, adaptability, all-round good guy-ness, and I could go on.
“Actually I will go on, his passing range was hugely underrated, mostly because he was usually getting on the end of moves where it hurts instead of spraying the ball from deep midfield himself. In fact, he was as perfectly capable of a pinpoint 50-yarder as the best of them, and he showed that when he dropped back a bit in the very final period of his Chelsea career. For all that, he had one quality which for me was not only world-class at the time, but the best I have ever witnessed in any player.
“His one-touch finishing looked so easy and natural it sometimes got overlooked. Next time you see any random bunch of Frank Lampard goals on TV, count just how many of them were one-touch finishes.
“It is an incredible skill to have the timing and the ability to almost always get your body into a position where you can steer the ball goalward, at pace, without taking a controlling touch or two first. He was a phenomenon. If you would have told me many years ago when I was playing that Kerry Dixon and Bobby Tambling’s goalscoring feats would be overshadowed, I would have struggled to believe you. If you had said it would be done by a midfielder, I would have said you are a fool who knows nothing about football. Frank made a fool of many and is indeed no fool himself, being exceptionally intelligent as well. Actually, now that I write all that I reckon he sounds rather annoyingly perfect, but somehow he still stays likeable and cool.
“So what of the future? Well I hope he isn’t lost to the game but who knows what will be next. There have even been rumours of Hollywood beckoning for Frankie boy and I hear they will be looking for a new James Bond pretty soon. You wouldn’t put it past him.”