It turns out that all you have to do as a Chelsea player to get into the good graces of the media at large is to win 99 England caps and be in-line for your 100th on a cold Tuesday night in Ukraine. (Unless your name is Ashley Cole, of course, but I digress.)
Wherein the narrative that has haunted Lampard since his days at West Ham United is one of privilege and an unfair advantage provided by his footballing heritage - in the forms of Frank Lampard, Sr. and Harry Redknapp, just to name the most obvious ones - all of a sudden, the script has been flipped. He's now being credited with hard work and determination, with boundless reserves of drive for personal and professional greatness, and with the humility you'd expect from a loyal veteran servant to both club and country.
While to us Chelsea fans this "new" public view of Lampard is really nothing new at all, I find it this sudden fawning rather hilarious. Cousin Jamie praises his work ethic, which was supposedly somehow already evident in back-garden kick-abouts as children. ITV calls him a marvel. Martin Lipton calls him outstanding. Positive words keep flowing out of every Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail orifice. One Chelsea fan, blogging for ESPN, calls him the greatest ever of the Premier League era. I've even heard judgments of his national team partnership with Steven Gerrard as something actually resembling a coherent, useful midfield! Meanwhile, Stevie Me hopes he himself is there to witness this historic occasion of England crowning their
first second third fourth fifth sixth seventh eighth centurion:
"Frank has been tremendous for club and country. No one deserves this 100 caps more than him."
"Hopefully, I will be on the pitch when he gets that 100th cap because I have been with him all the way through. He is a good friend."
-Steven Gerrard; source: Mirror
Cynicism aside, it will be a wonderful achievement when Frank takes the pitch in Kiev. As long as he and the rest of his Three Lions don't fail in their World Cup qualifying task at hand.
BONUS VIDEO: Lampard's pre-match press conference.