Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard - 21 footballers who answered the question

Gerrard, Lampard and Scholes

Who was better: Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes or Frank Lampard?

It’s a question England fans have been asking for decades now.

Of course, Liverpool supporters will always say Gerrard, Manchester United supporters will always say Scholes and Chelsea supporters will always say Lampard.



But rather than allow biased fans to argue the case for each player, why don’t we see what professional footballers think of the debate?

Therefore, we’ve dug out the answers of 21 professional footballers - past and present - to the all-important question for them to settle it once and for all.

Which player came out on top?

Let’s take a look:

Quiz: Can you name the English club that plays in this stadium?

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Which club plays in this stadium?

Cesc Fabregas | Steven Gerrard

During his time in the Premier League, Cesc Fabregas played against all three midfielders. But he’s regularly admitted he’s in Gerrard’s corner.

"If I have to say one - and I really enjoyed playing against - I would say Steven Gerrard,” Fabregas told BBC's Match of the Day’s podcast.

"He was physically the most difficult opponent to handle. He was the box-to-box player, he could be on his right or left, shooting from the outside of his boot. He was a machine."

Also in a recent Q&A on his Twitter account, Fabregas revealed Gerrard was the toughest player he played against while at Arsenal.


Bruno Fernandes | Paul Scholes

Okay, there might be a bit of bias here after Bruno Fernandes joined United and inherited Scholes’ No.18 shirt but he backs up his opinion.

"I think Scholes was one of the best midfielders in the world,” he told Sky Sports. “For England, a lot of people talk about Frank Lampard because he scored a lot of goals of course, one of the best in England too, you have Steven Gerrard too, but I think Scholes is the one who makes more difference than anyone else.

"And before everyone starts talking about this, I haven't seen every midfielder in England, ok?! But I think in the last generation, those three were the three best ones, and for me Scholes was best."

Bruno Fernandes

Michael Owen | Steven Gerrard

Owen’s answer may also contain some bias but he did play alongside all three at England. But the former striker thinks Gerrard was better than anyone he’s played with in his entire career.

"Stevie's on a different level than anything I've seen or played with and as you've said, I'm not blowing smoke up my a***, I've played with some great Man United players, Liverpool players, Real Madrid, England,” he told Jamie Carragher’s The Greatest Game podcast.

"Put it this way. If I'm saying tomorrow rewind the clock, you're going into battle now, you're playing in the Champions League final, who's your first pick? I'd have Steven Gerrard as my first pick out of anyone."

Gerrard and Owen

Toni Kroos | Paul Scholes

The Real Madrid midfielder needed just two words to settle the Gerrard, Scholes or Lampard debate.

Toni Kroos

Kaka | Steven Gerrard

Kaka came up against Gerrard in two Champions League finals and, for that reason, went for the Liverpool man.

"I like Gerrard," he told SPORTbible. "Because we had this challenge between ourselves in 2005 and 2007, I really admire him.

"Of course, Lampard was pretty amazing, Scholes the classic. But I'll have Gerrard."

Kaka and Gerrard

Thierry Henry | Paul Scholes

Considering Thierry Henry is arguably the greatest player the Premier League has ever seen, his answer carries plenty of weight. Having played against all three, the Frenchman opted for Scholes.

"He was just ahead in his head," Henry said. "He made Manchester United tick. Every time we were playing them we needed to find a way to stop him.

"It's true. I think Stevie G comes really close to him. But Paul Scholes would have to win."

Deco | Paul Scholes

Despite playing with Lampard at Chelsea, Deco believes Scholes was a different breed.

"I played with and against so many fantastic players in midfield like Gerrard," he was quoted saying by Bleacher Report in 2016. "I had the opportunity to play with Lampard together at Chelsea.

"I think, because he was a different type of player to all other types of English midfielder, Paul Scholes was the best player that I saw playing for an English midfield and one of the best players in the world."

Deco and Scholes

Kieron Dyer | Paul Scholes

Kieron Dyer may not be the biggest name but his opinion is worth listening to considering he played with all three at international level, while not appearing to have any club bias. He went for Scholes.

“The best player I ever played with is Paul Scholes,” Dyer told Soccer AM. “The [debate] has always been who’s better: Scholes, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. In my humble opinion, Scholes was the best.

“People who played with him and against him know that he was so special and unique. He could do everything except the tackle!”

Dyer and Scholes

Chris Sutton | Steven Gerrard

The former Premier League striker-turned-pundit dismissed his previous Chelsea connections to go for Gerrard.

"Tough one there but I'm going to say Gerrard," Sutton said when asked for his thoughts. "I think he was a better all-rounder. His range of passing... it's a tough one but Gerrard."

Chris Sutton

Paul Ince | Paul Scholes

Paul Ince played for both Liverpool and Manchester United during his career but he was in doubt with his answer.

"Scholesy all day long," the former England international responded immediately. "Better passer. He had everything."

Paul Ince

Bryan Robson | Steven Gerrard

Bryan Robson may be a Manchester United legend but he surprisingly went for Gerrard over Scholes.

"For me he [Gerrard] can do everything and that's the reason I'd say he was the best of the three if I had to split them ahead of Scholes and Lampard in that order," he told the Daily Mail in 2013.
"They are all top professionals and each brought different attributes and strengths but Gerrard can tackle, defend, score goals, head it, make a telling precision pass, dictate the tempo and is a powerful runner. He has a bit more to his game."

Bryan Robson

Ruben Loftus-Cheek | Steven Gerrard

Loftus-Cheek is making a name for himself at Chelsea these days but, in 2017, he suggested Gerrard was better than Lampard.

“I think I’m going to say Gerrard, because he could do everything," the midfielder said, per the Metro.

“Obviously Lampard was top at what he did, and what he did was score goals, and no other midfielder can do that like Lamps. But the way Gerrard leads as well, I’d say Gerrard.”

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Gary Neville | Paul Scholes

Gary Neville was never going to say anything else, was he?

“They’re three completely different players but all I will say is that Paul Scholes is the best player I ever played with.”

Jamie Carragher | Steven Gerrard

During the same debate on Monday Night Football, Jamie Carragher went a step further and named all three in order - putting Scholes last.

“I’d go Gerrard, Lampard, Scholes. I put Stevie top because of his big-game influence - Istanbul, Cardiff, cup final. Lampard next for the same [reason]. I’d just put them slightly ahead of Scholes.”

Carragher and Gerrard

Wilfried Zaha | Steven Gerrard

Wilfried Zaha didn’t get the opportunity to play with Scholes at Man Utd - something that perhaps would have changed his answer. But he went for Gerrard.

"Me personally, I would say Gerrard," the winger said, per "That's my opinion, just the way he plays, controls the game, technique, the way he strikes the ball.

"I remember training with England, and he hit the ball with such power, and no run-up. I'd have to run from the halfway line to smash that as hard as he's hit that".

Wilfried Zaha

Robbie Savage | Steven Gerrard

Perhaps a surprise considering Savage came through the United academy with Scholes but you can’t argue with someone who played against all of them regularly.

"I played against Scholes, Keane, Vieira, Makelele, Lampard - some of the best we've seen in the Premier League - but for me, Steven Gerrard stood out," the Welshman said in 2016.

"He could pass it 50, 60 yards and you couldn't get close to him. He could tackle you, take free-kicks, he could whip balls in, he could score goals - as a midfield player, he was a nightmare.

"For me, he goes down as the greatest ever Liverpool player."

Robbie Savage

Rio Ferdinand | Paul Scholes

Talking to GIVEMESPORT, Ferdinand make it clear that he’d always pick Scholesy over Gerard and Lampard.

“I’d go [Edwin] van der Sar. Cristiano [Ronaldo]. [Paul] Scholes, Roy Keane and [Wayne] Rooney.
“[Steven] Gerrard and [Frank] Lampard on the bench.”

Ferdinand and Scholes

Wayne Rooney | Paul Scholes

After Scholes announced his initial retirement back in 2011, Rooney paid tribute by saying he’s was the best player he played with and against.

“He’s the best I’ve played with and against,” Rooney told the Keys and Gray show. “He’s only small but it’s so difficult to get the ball off him. Every United fan will miss him.”

Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes

Mark Noble | Steven Gerrard

As a Premier League stalwart and having played directly against all three on numerous occasions, Mark Noble believes Gerrard was the “complete” footballer.

“Trust me when I say you only realise how good a player is when you play against them,” he said when participating in a Q&A on West Ham's official Twitter account.

“All 3 were top top players in their own right but all round player.

“Stevie G was the complete footballer.”

Mark Noble

John Terry | Frank Lampard

As if Terry was going to say anyone other than his mate at Chelsea. Although Terry did acknowledge Scholes’ natural ability when asked the question on Monday Night Football.

"I'm going to say Lamps, aren't I? But I do think naturally Scholes was unbelievable. He did things I've not seen many players do. He was incredible,” Terry said.

"But having seen Lamps training, and seeing what he could do, he was unbelievable."

Ben Foster | Paul Scholes

Ben Foster isn’t shy in giving out his opinion on his various social media channels and, when asked the question, ranked the three players in order.

"The order is not belittling anyone because I've played with them all and they are: 'wow'," Foster explained on the 'Happy Hour Podcast'. "It would be Scholes, Gerrard, Lampard. 

"Like I say, I've played with the others for England and they were just phenomenal. They're all sort of different players. Honestly, I was genuinely surprised by how good Gerrard was.

"Gerrard and Scholes were close. Lampard was a bit of a different player. He would score goals. He would score a lot of goals. But Scholes was [exhales] mad."

Ben Foster

The results:

So, we attempted to settle the Gerrard vs Scholes vs Lampard debate by digging out the answers of 21 professionals past and present.

However, it seems all we’ve done is eliminate one player from the conversation.

For those of you who have been paying attention, poor old Lampard only picked up one vote - from his best mate, Terry.

But there’s still no splitting Gerrard and Scholes who received 10 votes each.

At the end of the day, all three are some of the greatest players this country has ever produced.

Let’s just not get into a debate about why they failed to win anything for their country…

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