England‘s three centurions – Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard and now Frank Lampard – are set to start for England vs Ukraine on Tuesday night. But just how important are they to the current England squad?
It’s fair to say there has been a desire from English people over the past few years to move on from those involved in the ‘Golden Generation’ that failed to perform at both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, as well as failing to even make it to the 2008 Euros.
It’s really the two years between 2006 and 2008 that hangs over them, though. These three, now older players on the squad are really the last of the players that experienced it all and took the blame.
People always want youth – fresh, undamaged hopes that may provide a better chapter in the England story.
However, these three give England something that could be a serious help. The experience they have of the past pain is evidently something that is there to now drive them on. Gerrard has in the past spoken about how he wishes to end his career on high with England. It’s something England needs – men who know what to expect and how to deal with it. They might not even be the best players for each position. When England finally has a fully fit selection I don’t think Lampard would be considered one of England’s best eleven. But he has learned how England works. He’s seen that in International games you may play just as averagely as you will with your club, but as the eyes of the world stare at you, every error is noticed.
England needs these wise heads. They’ve experienced the hype, the rise and fall of the ‘Golden Generation’. They’ve been involved in those historic moments like 5-1 in Germany and later felt the nation’s disappointment after failing to qualify for Euro 2008. They’re important to seize the big moments. We saw this earlier in the qualifying campaign when Lampard found the net in the 87th minute to seal a point vs Ukraine. It could prove vital in order to reach Brazil next year.
Don’t write the three older boys off yet, as they still have a lot to offer. it may not be a progression by naming three over 30 year olds, but it provides England with a buffer to help the younger players cope in order to make sure they to don’t suffer the same fate. They’ve won a lot with their clubs, and they have been and still are great players. England needs them, just like every successful nation has had wise heads who know how to deal with the unexpected.