Why John Giles never saw "brilliant" Frank Lampard as a midfielder

Leeds and Ireland legends sums up the former Chelsea player's role and why he succeeded

BY Raf Diallo 20:08 Thursday 2 February 2017, 20:08 2 Feb 2017

Frank Lampard. Picture by Peter Byrne PA Wire/PA Images

John Giles has expressed his admiration for Frank Lampard after the former Chelsea, West Ham and England midfielder retired from professional football.

As a midfielder, the 38 year old had an outstanding goal record, particularly for Chelsea where he finished just shy of 150 Premier League goals to his name.

It was all the more remarkable as Lampard would have regarded himself as not a particularly gifted young player - some West Ham fans agreed - before hard work drove him to exalted heights. 

"He had a hard time when he first came in at West Ham as a young player," said John on Off The Ball.

"He got a very, very tough time and a lot of people were surprised then that he was transferred to Chelsea. But then again, Chelsea weren't the team that they were about to become under [Jose] Mourinho.

"But he did have a hard time. I have a lot of admiration for him. Apparently he didn't consider himself a gifted player but he worked extremely hard and made himself into a really great servant for Chelsea."

Analysing what made Lampard so potent as a goalscorer and late runner into the box, John feels he was in fact a striker playing in midfield - with all the instincts that comes with - rather than a bona fide engine room operator.

"I always considered him a striker - a striker coming from a deep position," he said.

"I never considered him a real midfield player. He didn't initiate things from the middle of the field, he wasn't clever around the middle of the field. So I think he was a striker coming from a deep position which was brilliant and he did it brilliantly.

"But that's why I always felt him and [Steven] Gerrard playing together in the middle of the field were never successful for England. The two of them were very similar."

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