Frankly, I would like to know exactly what AVB’s problem is

I have tried to abstain from writing about this particular issue, partly because everyone is talking about it and the player in question provokes fairly extreme opinions from people, and also because my opinion on this matter has about as much credit as Jamie Redknapp’s – who is non other than Frank Lampard’s cousin, and if you had not guessed it by now, the player this article is centred around.

Now, I am not going to lie, Lampard has always been one of my very favourite players, in the same way that Ronaldo is or back in the day, Raul was. It is for one simple reason – they always seem to pop up when the team needs them, and over the years he has been at Chelsea, Super Frank has averaged around 20 goals per season, and hardly ever missed a game – setting a record for 164 consecutive appearances. Add to this his genuine love for the club and you have a certain fan favourite, and the most ‘untouchable’ out of the Mourinho era.

Lampard had – and judging by recent matches – still has the ability to take on an almost saviour like capacity for Chelsea, having a sixth sense of where the ball is going to be, and the ability to be in exactly the right place at the right time. Frank also finishes better than most strikers I have ever seen, and in his 503 appearances for the Blues, has scored 179 goals – not bad for a midfielder and the definitive answer to all the critics who stated Lampard was just lucky and his goals came from tap in’s or deflections.  Well if Torres could have even a quarter of the ‘luck’ Lampard has, he would be laughing.

So why is it that since the arrival of former assistant AVB, Lampard has been pushed ever more to the side lines, and is seemingly the example AVB uses to exert his authority time and time again?

Yes, no one can deny that now at 33 – which is the same age as the manager – Lampard probably cannot play every minute of every game if he wants to prolong his career, and like Giggs and the Golden Generation at United, time on the bench has to be something the player comes to terms with, and after injury issues in the last couple of years, Lampard must acknowledge he could benefit from this.

What the player nor club will not benefit from is the way AVB isolates players – not just Lampard – for long periods of time, and then when finally included, he not only fails to comment on the fact that Lampard scored yet again and saved points for Chelsea – as he did after the Wolves game – but he goes out of his way to say ‘it does not matter who scores, Romeu, Mata…’ well it was Lampard AVB, but you seem to conveniently ignore all of the 10 goals in all competitions he has managed in the paltry time he has spent on the field.

It spoke volumes that in Chelsea’s game against Wolves, after the first goal the players – as instructed – ran over to AVB to celebrate with him, not only turning up the cringe ometer to the colour of Fergie’s face after Rooney has been out the night before, but essentially making a laughing stock of the club. When Lampard scored, he did not go anywhere near the manager, nor did Terry or in fact any of the ‘old school’ Chelsea players.

No one can blame AVB for attempting to stamp authority on the club and steering them through the tough period of transition, yet as I said in an article on this very topic only last week, there are ways to do this, and the treatment of Lampard, Alex and Anelka is not acceptable.

If AVB has such a complex about his previous spell at the club and control over the players who were there at the time, he should not have taken the job at Chelsea. Much like Mourinho’s attitude towards Barcelona, where he is still referred to as the translator, AVB has a tag to shake off, but unlike with Mourinho and Barcelona, Chelsea have been nothing but respectful and patient.

The fact Lampard has to suffer whilst AVB exerts authority will end up having a negative effect on not only the player, but the manager and the whole team – yes he may not be able to play every game anymore, but as he has shown time and time again, Lampard has so much to offer still, and Chelsea better hope it is for them and not United! Mind you, the way AVB is going, he may still become yet another manager Lamps has outlasted at the club.


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