It’s now coming to that stage where our experienced players are starting to look lesser and lesser the players they were when they hit their peak.
There’s no hiding from it. You could group me along with the biggest fans of John Terry and Frank Lampard, and I hope they can continue to serve the club long after they call times on their careers. I believe despite what some people may say about John Terry, he will make a fine manager, and no-less will Frank Lampard. They’ve experienced the cream of the crop in Jose Mourinho to Guus Hiddink to Carlo Ancelotti and especially in Roberto Di Matteo. They’re bound to have learned a thing or two. Every generation has their greats, and in my generation (1996-2006), or players I’ve grown up watching, I’d club Lampard and Terry along with guys like Drogba, Cech, Zola, Vialli, Di Matteo, Dennis Wise, Le Saux, Hasselbaink and so on. The current younger group of players are for our younger generation of fans to grow up on. They’ve been Captain and Vice-Captain of the most successful era in our club’s history, and I can think of no two better guys in this decade that have deserved it as much as them. They know they have the unconditional love and support of every Chelsea fan, and have earned it just by wearing our shirt with pride.
There may have been instances where Frank and John had a chance to leave, but certain players, as they’ve proven, just don’t have it in their heart to. Lampard was on the verge of joining Inter Milan, where Jose Mourinho worked hard to bring in Frank, whom he still rates as the hardest working player he’s ever come across. Lampard, after negotiations were advancing at a scary pace, decided to snub the move and remain at Chelsea. As if he hadn’t scored enough goals to gain our love and respect! John Terry had received an offer, and in truth, he did revise it. When Manchester City submit an offer to a player, you can be sure even Cristiano Ronaldo would give it a glance. He waited, talked with his advisor and finally rejected City’s proposal. Again, heroic in the eyes of fans that lived their boyhood dream of playing for Chelsea through JT.
If you needed any more assurance about my love for these guys, I’ll definitely give you my time to express it further.
However, times move on and players move on. I feel that time has now come for John and Frank. It pains me to say it because they are my heroes, but if we are to keep up with the likes of United, City, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Milan and Bayern, we have to move on.
Frank’s made it clear he’s fitter than ever, and believes the best way to get the best out of him is by playing every game. It’s come to a point where, yes he gets us goals and yes he has the ability to change the outcome of games, but the fact remains that he’s no longer that 28 or 29 year old that played his football at a lightening speed. He has lost a lot of pace, and I think the time has come where, if he wants to stay, he’s going to need to accept a role on the bench. He should definitely be in contention to start games, but I’m desperate to see guys like McEachran come through. He’s young, quick, has amazing vision, and let’s face it, has been patient. Lampard started at Chelsea as a young player, and was given the opportunity by Ranieri. This paragraph about Lampard may be irrelevant if the club decide against offering Frank his terms. Do I think he should stay? 100%. Should he get to start every game? No, he’ll burn out, and will remain for a max. of 2 more seasons. Players like Giggs and Scholes are proof that giving experienced players a rest will preserve their fitness for a longer period, and that’s exactly the case with Frank. After all, he is human, and despite what many may believe, his body does burn out slightly with every game he plays. He’s shown signs of fatigue this season, the reason why I make the point.
John is a similar case. While we all know he’s no Usain Bolt, and makes up for it with his positional skills. He still possesses these skills, while also losing more pace. He’s developed a chronic knee problem and has problems with his back. On his day, no one get’s past JT, but there’s been a significant decrease in the amount of ‘on his day’ he has had. Again, he’s another player I’d want staying at the club, for his leadership, drive and experience. When you think of Chelsea today, you think of Drogba, John Terry and Frank Lampard, and John would definitely be worth his weight in gold when it comes to his positive qualities. However, I believe we have better centre-backs in Ivanovic and Cahill, while we’re about to see Nathan Ake and Nathaniel Chalobah come through soon, and I feel JT too has to accept his place on the bench. Again, not to say he shouldn’t start games, but I don’t think starting him in every game is helping anyone.
Players like Drogba have successful careers at a club, and they go out when they’re at the top. He won the Champions League and left in the most elegant manner. However, starting their careers from scratch at Chelsea, I’d hate to see JT and Frank leave, but it’s just one of those things where you start to see the change in quality of the team, and you pick out the reasons why. In no way am I blaming poor results on them, but every team must evolve, JT and Frank can’t be world class forever and I’m a strong believer in giving chances to younger players who have been patient and are raring to don the blue of Chelsea and work their way towards legendary status, in the same manner John Terry and Frank Lampard have done.
Leave me your thoughts below!
~ Ian Holloway – “Sir David Beckham? You’re having a laugh. He’s just a good footballer with a famous bird.” ~