Whenever the PFA Player of the Year nominees are announced it usually causes quite a debate up and down the country. The four players in this year’s list, Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas, Didier Drogba and Carlos Tevez rightly deserve their place in the running for the award and while the former is the favourite to win the prize, are their names missing form that list that should be in there to compete with Rooney? Perhaps Frank Lampard?
Players seem to shy away from individual awards they receive throughout their career, and whilst they gladly accept them, the PFA is different for them because it is recognition from their peers. They appreciate more than anybody what kind of impact you have to make to win it. While there have been some dubious winners in recent years, Lampard gives the impression that is he is a wholly committed professional who would take a great deal of pride in winning the award. It must be remembered that the format has changed this year with the list of contenders trimmed down from six to four. Of course that means that Lampard’s is not the only name missing and there are bound to be die-hards from spectators of various clubs annoyed that their players aren’t in it.
So did Lampard deserve to be in the shortlist? Unfortunately for him voting had closed prior to his four goals in Chelsea’s 7-1 demolition of Aston Villa- a feat that took him to 17 goals in the Premier League this season, which is the most by any midfielder. This alone is quite a commendable achievement and Lampard actually does this season in, season out. The breakdown of that might show that a proportion of his goals throughout the season do come from penalties, but he contributes much more to Chelsea than just goals. Out of the four candidates for this year’s award, the only person who could probably make way for Lampard is Fabregas. It would be hard to replace Rooney and Drogba – he’d have to be approaching something like 30 goals – for the amazing seasons the two strikers have had, and Tevez has shown his worth to Manchester City, especially since the turn of the year.
Regarding Fabregas, it is not as though the Arsenal captain does not warrant a place in that list but more in relation to the fact that the Englishman has had 14 assists, which even though it is second to Fabregas, supposedly comes on the back of a view that Lampard has been average this season. The Chelsea man’s stats about his goals and assists this season stand out more because an important tactical issue. This is his ability to perform a different role for quite a lot this season in Carlo Ancelotti’s diamond formation and sacrificing his ideal position at times- to accommodate others. That he can still show his quality to the cause when it seemed like he was having an indifferent season speaks volumes about his dedication to the cause. It’s not only his football capacity but the fact that he has an excellent disciplinary record where he has only made 21 fouls, thus not having a red card to his name, and for a midfielder that is unique. This shouldn’t detract from his work ethic because keen followers of Lampard will know that he covers a lot of ground during every single match he plays.
Possibly a reason as to why Lampard hasn’t been included, amongst others who have failed to make the list for the same reason, is because the likes of Rooney and Drogba have had exceptional seasons which even they couldn’t have possibly foreseen. Therefore, those fellow players probably didn’t notice his assists/goals when they have seen 30+ goals being scored by two other candidates. Other than that, he is a professional that has a game based more on the use of his football intelligence rather than pace, which at his age of 31, is not an asset of his.
Whilst it is unlikely that Frank Lampard will lose any sleep over not being in the shortlist, it seems that in the main part of his Chelsea career he has always been proving people wrong. In the face of adversity is where Lampard seems strongest and his inclusion in the list would have been for an all-round purpose. More often than not he is the ideal role model on and off the pitch, has broken records with Chelsea and continues to get on with his football without causing a fuss. It could just be that his consistency at the highest level is not something that makes him stand out anymore.
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