Frank Lampard has suggested an answer to the question that haunted England managers for years: can Lampard and Steven Gerrard play together for England?
One of the key failings of England’s golden generation was the midfield pairing. Despite being two of the world’s foremost playmaking talents, Lampard and Gerrard could never strike a balance and England never made it past the quarter finals of a major tournament.
Recently appointed manager of Derby County, Lampard will have to start making tough tactical decisions of his own, and he showed his nous with a simple solution to the Gerrard problem.
“I would have played three central midfield players instead of the two of us,” he said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
“I would have played someone like Owen Hargreaves, Michael Carrick or even Paul Scholes in the earlier days.
“England generally had only one centre-forward who was a shoo-in during my time, from Michael Owen to Wayne Rooney, and we’d pair them with Peter Crouch or Emile Heskey.”
Sacrificing a support striker for a holding midfielder would have allowed Gerrard and Lampard to play their natural game without worrying about the other, meaning that they could have fulfilled a similar role to what they played for their club sides.
“It would have been easy thing to do,” added Lampard. “You could also ask your wide players to come inside and then you’d have more numbers in midfield. It would have been how we all wanted to play.”
With England outnumbered in the centre – other international sides had already started the switch to three in the middle – Lampard thinks that England actually did well to go as far as they did at major tournaments.
“We never had a chance, really, and it was remarkable that we got as far as we did,” he said.