The Rundown

Nine reasons why England fans should like Frank Lampard

The Rundown

View gallery

.

Frank Lampard will reach his century of England caps in Kiev’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday evening, and has been described as a "godsend" by his manager, Roy Hodgson.

Since making his breakthrough into the national side in 1999, Lampard has been a loyal servant for his country and scored 29 goals from midfield in the process.

But some England fans, it seems, will never take to the talismanic Chelsea midfielder and all-time leading goalscorer.

The 35-year-old has endured persistent abuse from certain sections of England supporters but continued with his international career undeterred.

Here are nine reasons why England fans should really like Lampard more than many appear to do.

View gallery

.
1) He is not fat

There is a frankly absurd obsession from some England supporters with referring to Lampard as 'Fat Frank' - there always has been, and there always will be. The fact is, though, Lampard is one of the fittest footballers around and renowned for his clean living and extremely healthy diet. The chants may never go away, but the reputation really should.

2) He is a 'good guy'

The following story appeared in The Times recently: "A young couple staying in West Sussex last weekend attended a local church service in Amberley. Towards the end of the service, one elderly gentleman was taken ill and the couple rushed outside to call for an ambulance and stayed to make sure that he was taken care of. They contacted the vicar the following day to check on the parishioner’s recovery, which was progressing well, thanks to their swift action. They were none other than Frank Lampard and Christine Bleakley. It was enough to revise views on footballers."

View gallery

.
3) He's an Englishman who can actually score penalties

The Chelsea star is his country's most prolific penalty taker, having netted from 12 yards on nine occasions for England. The great Alan Shearer and Ron Flowers - who sounds like a 60s pop icon but was actually a member of the 1966 World Cup-winning squad - are next best with six successful penalties. Okay, so he's had two spot-kicks saved in normal time and also missed in a shoot-out in the 2006 World Cup against Portugal, but no-one's perfect - let alone an Englishman faced with a penalty under pressure.

4) He's not afraid to give some back

When radio station LBC questioned his parenting credentials in 2009, Lampard did what few other people would do and rang the station directly to give them a piece of his mind and set the record straight:

"Let me tell you something now, my mother died a year ago today, which has been a huge impact on my life, my family’s life and my sister’s life," he said. "And unfortunately that’s had a huge impact on my relationship at home. And there is nothing, I wish I could do a lot about that, but unfortunately I can’t do nothing about that. But I find it insulting that you’re telling me you would fight tooth and nail and insinuating that I wouldn’t fight tooth and nail. That’s what I’ve spent time doing.

"You don’t know anything about me and you’re insinuating I’m weak and scum because I haven’t fought tooth and nail. The hardest part of this whole break up for me is not waking up with my kids every day. So before you start insinuating and calling people weak and scum on a radio station, getting on a high horse which you are, cos I hope one day that your wife or your girlfriend doesn’t come to you and say I don’t want to be with you anymore and unfortunately that means you wont see the kids for a few days a week. That will hurt with you as well but you’d have to deal with it."

View gallery

.
5) He's responsible for goal-line technology

All those football fans baying for FIFA to get with the times over the past few years have Lampard to thank for the Zurich-based dinosaurs finally seeing sense and bringing in goal-line technology. It was Lampard's 'goal' against Germany at the 2010 World Cup that convinced Sepp Blatter he could no longer ignore the issue. "For me as FIFA president it became evident the moment what happened in South Africa in 2010," he said. "I have to say 'thank you Lampard'; I was completely down in South Africa when I saw that. It really shocked me, it took me a day to react. It happened again in Ukraine, and Ukraine can still not believe it now."

6) He scores goals

And lots of them. Indeed, of non-strikers, only Tom Finney and Sir Bobby Charlton have scored more goals than Lampard's 29 in 99 caps. While many remember Lampard for all the shots he blazed over the bar at the 2006 World Cup, a more accurate picture of him in an England shirt is pinging one into the corner.

View gallery

.
7) He's not Ashley Cole

Seriously, if you are looking for a good England villain there is one rather more obvious target, and he also plays for Chelsea. Cole himself has been criticised in the past - but bizarrely not to the same extent as the largely likeable Lampard. While Frank keeps himself to himself, his colleague for club and country has committed the following crimes: being caught up in a high-profile tapping-up case; publishing a whinging autobiography; puking in a hairdresser's friend's car; cheating on the nation's sweetheart; shooting a work experience kid with an air rifle.

8) He has an A* in GCSE Latin

People are always moaning that footballers are not educated enough, but Lampard bucks the trend having gone to the prestigious Brentwood School, where he attained very good exam results. "My parents knew I wanted to be a footballer from day one but they were also proud I got good GCSEs," he once told the Telegraph. "I got A-star, four As, five Bs and a C. I am the only footballer with an A-star in Latin! But it was not a very difficult decision choosing football ahead of more Latin." Carpe diem, Frankius.

View gallery

.
9) He's cleaned up his act

Much as we have sung his praises so far, we must grudgingly admit that our Frank used to be a bit of a tearaway. There was the Ayia Napa sex tape with Rio Ferdinand and Kieron Dyer, and the drunken abuse of grieving Americans after 9/11, but Lampard is now a reformed character and unlike some of his fellow footballers has grown up to be a model pro.

What do you think? Is Frank Lampard unfairly maligned by the public?

View Comments (88)
Fantasy Premier League