Frank Lampard: Chelsea legend explained why England partnership with Gerrard didn't work

Steven Gerrard & Frank Lampard never clicked as a duo for England

It looks as if both Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard will be managing in the Premier League this season.

On Thursday, Gerrard was confirmed as Dean Smith's replacement at Aston Villa, while Lampard is expected to fill the vacant position at Norwich City.

It will certainly be interesting to see whether the two icons can replicate their success in the Premier League as players from the dugout.

Both Lampard and Gerrard are regarded as two of the greatest midfielders in the history of English football, with each scoring and assisting an incredible number of goals.

But despite the fact they were world-class operators who could seemingly do it all in the middle of the park, the pair never clicked as a partnership on international duty.

So why was that the case? Well, the main issue was the fact that England managers for the most part refused to incorporate Lampard and Gerrard in a midfield three.

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Instead, the likes of Sven Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello used a system that ultimately wasted both players.

Lampard certainly believes that England's setup in his playing days was all wrong.

Back in 2018, the Chelsea legend gave a fascinating, in-depth explanation as to why he and Gerrard as a midfield pairing never really took off.

Video: Lampard explains why Gerrard partnership with England didn't work

“I would have played three midfield players,” Lampard, who was capped 106 times by England, said.

“I would have played Owen Hargreaves or Michael Carrick or Paul Scholes in the earlier days, because he’d already started to retreat to a deep midfield player for Manchester United.

“We generally, in my career, only had one centre-forward focal point who was a shoe-in, which was either Michael Owen or then Wayne Rooney.

Lampard & Gerrard with England

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“As you know we kind of paired Peter Crouch with him, or Emile Heskey, so it was actually crying out to be done.

“If myself and Steven are playing in midfield for England without anybody behind us, you had to always worry about where he was in relation to me to be able to make your natural runs.

“The worst thing in football is when you start second guessing your movement because it’s so fast, when you wait you can’t arrive.

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“It was an absolute no-brainer to me looking back that we didn’t do it.”

So there you have it, England's decision to stay loyal to the outdated 4-4-2 formation (or slight variations of it) essentially resulted in two all-time greats regularly flattering to deceive on the international stage.

If the Three Lions had turned to 4-3-3 and brought in a defensive midfielder for a striker in the early 2000s, they may have actually won a major international tournament.

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