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Making a Case for Frank Lampard's World Cup Seat

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Roy Hodgson has some tough decisions to make, will he make the right ones?

Mike Hewitt

The frequent, and unwarranted use of the word 'all-rounder' in footballing circles is quite sickening. Yet, if there is any one player who deserves to be labeled as one, it has to be Chelsea stalwart Frank Lampard. It really is quite hard to pick one special aspect of Lampard’s game. He’s equally adept at taking long shots, as he is at tackling. He can pick a pass just as well, as he can head the ball goalwards. His corner, penalty and free kick taking skills are almost second to none. Frankly speaking, it is quite shocking that people have, and still do call for his exclusion from the English football team.

One point frequently raised by skeptics, is that England don’t need Lampard because of the well-documented "Lampard and Gerrard can’t coexist" myth. The other reason is that a lot of people believe that the two can’t play together is because of their tendency to bomb forward, and join the attack, frequently leaving the defense exposed. The fact that Lampard and Gerrard can’t play together, however, doesn’t mean that the two can’t be in the same squad. While Gerrard is more likely to dink a cute, almost impossible pass to an onrushing striker, Lampard can achieve similar results with a simple, quick exchange of passes. The two work differently, to achieve the same effect. There’s no better way to replace a tired Lampard on the pitch, in the dying moments of a match, than by bringing Gerrard. The same works the other way round. The two players, despite their differences, have the natural instincts to do the same thing. As both age, they’re bound to get tired quicker, and having an able replacement of exceptional quality at hand, waiting on the bench can never hurt.

Another reason why many believe that Lampard shouldn’t feature in Brazil is due to the brilliant form, and exceptional talent and potential of younger players like Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley, Tom Cleverley, and Jordan Henderson, amongst others. While all these young players have undoubted potential, and much more energy, pace, and dynamism to contribute to the team, even their combined experience pales in front of Lampard’s. In a crunch game, during a penalty shootout situation, there are not many who would rather have one of the youngsters over Lampard. Experience can never be replaced, the more, the better.

To sum it all up, Lampard is no longer the dominant, all-conquering player he once was, but he still has a lot to offer to the English team, and if excluded, his absence will surely be felt.