For more than a decade now, an old dispute has droned on and on in pubs and on the terraces nationwide. Who was the best player? Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard or Paul Scholes.
What makes this issue particularly contentious is the way that opinion on the matter is so divided. A case can be made for each player. All three have enjoyed tremendous success – some more than others mind – and will undoubtedly go down in history as some of the finest talent England has ever produced.
Gary Neville once declared during a classic instalment of Monday Night Football that Scholes was the finest player he ever played with. Unsurprisingly, his old foe and new punditry partner in crime had other ideas.Let’s begin with the Manchester United man. Part of the infamous class of ’92, Paul Scholes evolved into one of the best box to box midfielders in the world in a team which dominated domestically. His range of passing and ability to strike the ball from distance made him the most influential player on the pitch in the vast majority of the games he featured in.
Frank Lampard is the only player out of the three who is not strictly a one-club man. In the case of this 35 year-old however, that has not detracted from his popularity amongst the Chelsea faithful in the slightest. As managers have come and gone, Lampard has remained a permanent fixture in the Chelsea starting eleven. In 2013, he broke Bobby Tambling’s record of 202 goals to become the highest goalscorer in Chelsea history, despite the fact that all of those important strikes over the years have come from midfield.
Steven Gerrard is not just an employee of Liverpool Football Club. He is worshipped on Merseyside. The club captain has, at times, carried a very average team on his own and led them to glory such as in the dramatic 2005 Champions League final triumph over AC Milan in Istanbul.
Even as he begins to enter the twilight of his illustrious career, the argument can be made that Gerrard is in the form of his life, swapping his all over the pitch engine playing style for much more defensive anchoring role under Brendan Rodgers.
Perhaps Gerrard’s finest hour in a Liverpool shirt came in the 2006 FA Cup final against West Ham where he scored twice to spectacularly turn the match on its head.
Paul Scholes 449 appearances, 107 goals, 66 England caps, 14 international goals. Honours – 11 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups, 2 League Cups, 5 Community Shields, 2 Champions Leagues, 1 Intercontinental Cup, 1 Club World Cup, 1 u18 European Championship, 2 PFA Team of the years, inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
Frank Lampard 582 appearances, 171 goals, 103 caps, 29 international goals. Honours – 1 Intertoto Cup, 3 Premier Leagues, 4 FA Cups, 2 League Cups, 2 Community Shields, 1 Champions League, 1 Europa League, 2005 Ballon d’Or Silver Award, 2 Premier League Player of the Seasons.
Steven Gerrard 468 appearances, 109 goals, 109 caps, 21 international goals. Honours – 2 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 2 Community Shields, 1 Champions League, 1 UEFA Cup, 2 UEFA Super Cups, 2005 Ballon d’Or bronze award, 1 PFA Player of the Year.