Why England Don't Need Chelsea's Frank Lampard

Yoosof Farah@@YoosofFarahSenior Writer IIISeptember 8, 2010

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - SEPTEMBER 07:  Adam Johnson (C) of England celebrates with team mates after scoring his team's second goal during the EURO 2012 Qualifier between Switzerland and England at St Jakob Park on September 7, 2010 in Basel, Switzerland.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Ahead of England's September start to their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, Fabio Capello received the seemingly damaging news that star Chelsea duo John Terry and Frank Lampard would miss the Three Lions' opening matches against Bulgaria and Switzerland.

But instead of being damaging, the news meant nothing, as the English cruised to a 4-0 annihilation of Bulgaria at Wembley before leaving Switzerland for dead on a cold, wet Basel night with a 3-1 win.

Six points from two potentially difficult games and star showings from the likes of Jermain Defoe, Wayne Rooney, Adam Johnson, James Milner, and Steven Gerrard suddenly gave England hope again after the ghastly showing in South Africa.

All done without Terry and Lampard, two of the England untouchables at the 2010 FIFA World Cup this summer.

Now whilst John Terry could well remain an untouchable in the heart of defence once he returns to full fitness, the same cannot be said for Frank Lampard.

After all, the England midfield is now looking stronger than it has over the past few years, even if the opposition weren't exactly Spain or Brazil.

Steven Gerrard has again been an inspirational captain for the Three Lions. His unassailable displays have come courtesy of protection holding midfielder Gareth Barry, who allows Gerrard to push forward at every opportunity and be that attacking playmaker he has so much success in being.

And with pacy wingers like James Milner, Adam Johnson, and Theo Walcott (who albeit is now injured) willingly taking on full-backs, putting in dangerous crosses and through-balls, and yet having the fitness to track back and support their full-back, Fabio Capello might just have found that elusive winning formula.

Combine that with the way Gerrard works in tandem with Wayne Rooney to create space, provide options, open up defences, and play in the likes of Jermain Defoe through on goal, and suddenly this England side looks like a big threat up front.

All that without Frank Lampard, who doesn't fit straight into the lineup unless either stand-in captain and in-form playmaker Steven Gerrard steps out or Gareth Barry makes way for his more attacking England colleague, thus leaving much less protection for the back four.

In other words, it doesn't make sense to put the Chelsea talisman straight into the starting eleven again for England.

Should he replace Barry, his attacking nature could possibly yield more goals for England (although that is in no way guaranteed) but would leave the defence more exposed, something which might potentially be deleterious against the top class attackers of Spain, Germany, etc.

Thus, the only logical solution would be for him to replace Steven Gerrard as the linchpin of England's midfield and forward play.

Well, logical in that it would be the only way he could fit easily into the team.

However, it still doesn't make sense to replace Gerrard for Lampard. After all, the Liverpool skipper is currently in great form for club and country, he's at full fitness, he's proven to link up well with Wayne Rooney, and also he's the current national team captain (he's a better leader on the pitch), which he could well take on a permanent basis from Rio Ferdinand (who's own England career is arguably in jeopardy somewhat).

Also, it could be said that Gerrard has more shelf life for England, considering he's two years younger than Lampard and yet has four more caps than the Chelsea man. Perhaps this means he's slightly more comfortable at the international level.

And in any case, there's a strong equilibrium among the players in this latest squad for England that hasn't been seen since the start of the Capello era, and not seen for several years before that.

Against Bulgaria especially it was evident that England had finally got the right team dynamics and psychologically. They are in much better condition than they were at the World Cup.

The smiles are back on the players faces, with Gerrard, Rooney, Adam Johnson, Defoe, Milner, and Barry all showing more positive body language and visibly showing more positive emotions.

Could it be that Frank Lampard's return to the starting lineup ahead of one of the midfielders might possibly disrupt the harmony within the team?

After all, Steven Gerrard did tell the media following the Switzerland match that this first England squad for the opening qualifiers have "regrouped."

He said, "We need to stick together and try and raise the performance levels. I think over the last two games we have certainly done that. I just think we have regrouped."

And crucially, the group of players Gerrard is talking about does not include Frank Lampard. Whether much be can read into that remains to be seen.

But despite it being clear Lampard does not fit straight into the side, that evidently does not mean this is the end of the Chelsea star's international career.

Of course Lampard will be a part of Capello's plans as long as he's still delivering the goods in the Premier League, which he currently is.

However, the overwhelming evidence for Don Fabio is that his lineup for the past two qualifiers does not need voluntary changing at all, and thus, there's no need for Lampard from the start.

A brilliant substitute for the likes of Gerrard and Rooney is what Frank Lampard will be for England. Any more than that though does not seem likely.

Because as the cliché saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."


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