Why don’t Englishmen like Lampard want to play abroad?

August 14, 2008

Frank Lampard’s decision to sign a new contract with Chelsea and shun the advances of Inter Milan was hardly a surprise.

The midfielder made a wise choice if he based the decision on the previous experiences of English players in Italy.

Only David Platt at Sampdoria was really a success. Ian “it’s like living in a foreign country” Rush lasted just a season at Juventus while the likes of Luther Blissett, Lee Sharpe, Ray Wilkins, Des Walker, Paul Ince and Jay Bothroyd hardly set Serie A alight.

Paul Gascoigne was injured for much of his time at Lazio. Rather than his stunning play, he is best remembered here in Italy for shocking the nation by burping into a microphone.

In recent years only David Beckham at Real Madrid can claim to have done well away from English shores. That’s largely because he was one of the few who dared to try something new.

I actually think Lampard would have been a success at Inter, especially playing under former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho. The Italian champions, and Serie A in general, are crying out for a goalscoring central midfielder.

Instead Lampard will start another English season this weekend, admittedly with packed stadiums and bags of money in his pocket. Stuttering Serie A can’t quite compete with that. 

Mark Meadows, Milan


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The weather is no good, the food isn’t up to much, no marmite, no bbc, no hand-pulled luke-warm beer… it’s quite clear why Lampard wants to stay in UK rather than go to Italy.

Money is a huge factor of course, and Italy’s recent troubles off the pitch don’t make it as attractive as Spain for example. Brits like to go abroad for holidays but perhaps there is a fear of failure in foreign lands that seems to bedevil the England team as well.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Mark – this is a classic question – an important question – that doesn’t get examined deeply enough. My first – immature – reponse to your question is that – gulp – English players like Frank Lampard are not good enough. I’ve even heard a few Englishmen say this. But beyond such infantile views – what are we left with? Two things. First – what England manager Fabio Capello said recently – that it’s not a matter of English technique really; it’s more about “style”. English players simply have been unable or unwilling to change their style of play. I think the English are a bit stubborn this way. Having many English friends I have observed what amounts to a continuing superiority on their parts – despite the lack of success of their national teams and inability to place players abroad – in what have been up until now much better leagues than the Premiership.

The second and last thing I will say is that I believe that of all the English players who might have benefitted most from playing in Serie A – it would have been Lampard. Why? Because the slower pace and play through the midfield would have suited a player who is slowing down (fat?) and likes to get the ball played to him. I know that this is also a negative example really but I really think Italy would have been better for Lampard’s game.

Having said that I think that Lampard made a very wise financial move. It was clear that the only way he was going to Inter was to buy out his contract and that would have been far too great a risk.

And having said that – I think that Chelsea made an unwise move – five years for Frank?

It’s cement shoes for the club.

Before I let go of this topic – what I’d actually like to see is young English players going off to Italy or Spain. Mourinho talked about this when he was at Chelsea. There is talent in England – they just need either superior training or just different training. I think English players (and their agents) should start looking at this. Maybe young players like Micah Richards of City for example – before they sign with the local team – should sign with – I don’t know – Fiorentina or something – or Milan – and learn something new – and then maybe return home to tear it up… Or, maybe not return – I honestly think a player like Richards – if he were developed in Italy – would become a very great player – and might not want to leave once he was there…

Posted by Beautifulgamer | Report as abusive

Owen H had a good spell at Bayern. Ofcourse he went there without playing at home, but if I remmeber correctly he did collect a champions league medal in the process.

Posted by Arun | Report as abusive

Steve McManaman did pretty well, he won La liga and the Champion’s league with Real Madrid

Posted by Five Times | Report as abusive

Why don’t Englishmen like Lampard want to play abroad?

Frank Lampard’s decision to sign a new contract with Chelsea and shun the advances of Inter Milan was hardly a surprise.
The midfielder made a wise choice if he based the decision on the previous experiences of English players in Italy.

Posted by 52.co.nz | Report as abusive

Reason players like Lampard stay in England, is the same as suggesting why do top international players come to the English Premiership year-in, year-out, it simply because the EPL has now become the best league in the world, as seen in last season Champion’s League, and there again its pays the best players top salaries to play here.

Posted by Tony English | Report as abusive

The reason is simple; Fwank loves the Chels. End of.

Posted by BOB | Report as abusive

I think it takes a lot of bottle to go and work abroad. Most of the foreign players who play here are ‘internationalists’ who happily follow their career from country to country, but I think perhaps the main thing that scares english people from working abroad is simply learning another language. Language teaching here is rubbish, and not particularly encouraged by anyone, or thought of as a social or career asset, and so when a player is presented with the choice of having to work in a different language it makes them feel like they’d be a fish out of water. Maybe players do look at the riches of the premiership and think it is the best place to be when in reality, a spell playing in a different country with a different way of doing things might actually improve their football no end.

Posted by Chris Nettleton | Report as abusive

The thing is that they don’t get paid more in other countries so its good to play in his own country cause they pay a lot to players in their country, so its better to play in his own country rather than playing in abroad.

Posted by mackanrow | Report as abusive

The other thing is that many players like to play in their own country. So the other countries pay them more or less the players don’t care.

Posted by mackanrow | Report as abusive

re.tony english comments

I agree that the EPL has just become the benchmark in European football. Previously it was la liga and before that it was Serie A. All too often people use superlatives to describe leagues. I feel however that a nations dominance does not occur on 1 season of wins. Over the last few years Spains dominance has been slipping away and the EPL has started to demonstrate signs of strength, but you can hardly compare it just yet to the years of Liga or probably even greater Serie a dominance. Lets see if they manage to keep pulling or any other league gains greater control.
As for the best players playing in the EPL, I think that is a symptom of just watching EPL football. Although you could add to that that the EPL ahs employed foreign managers that give foreign players an entry route. ie Benitez and Torres and Alonso. Scolari and the possibility of Kaka and the existing foreigners. I do not think that Torres etc would have joined Liverpool if it was not for Benitez. Also what about Messi, Ronaldinho, Henry, Van Nistleroy, Robinho, Kaka, Sneider, Robben. There are just as many big names at the biggest clubs in europe. Real Madrid is still able to compete or exceed any other teams pay deals.

Posted by richard | Report as abusive