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England defeated Moldova 5-0 on Friday in both teams' UEFA qualifying debuts. The win was notable for several reasons, but most of all for the fact that England manager Roy Hodgson found a way to play Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard in the same midfield successfully.
Many have tried before Hodgson. All have failed.
As Michael Cox notes in The Guardian, both Lampard and Gerrard previously excelled at the club level in three-man midfields. Their international partnership, meanwhile, made little sense and rarely worked.
The key factor Friday was the presence of Manchester United's Tom Cleverley in an advanced midfield role. Lampard and Gerrard altered their style to play more as deep-lying midfielders. Suddenly, with both players well into their 30s (Lampard is 34 years old, Gerrard 32), they can finally form the partnership they were always supposed to.
In other words, the two can finally play together in the same midfield, but only because they're both now suited to less-advanced roles after seeing their physical abilities decline.
The plan worked, at least against Moldova, as Lampard scored twice and England won 5-0.