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  • Despite being an intelligent, articulate man with a phenomenal goal-scoring record; despite being voted England fans’ player of the year for both 2005 and 2006; despite being a multi-title-winning player and runner-up in the Ballon d’Or only a couple of years ago, he remains one of the most divisive players in England.

    Perhaps Lampard suffers from the same crisis of confidence that affects any player for whom goal-scoring is an intrinsic part of their game. With Chelsea, he’s in his element: surrounded by midfielders of superlative talent, all of whom are drilled with precision to know how and when they should move. If anything, his passing range seems to have improved under Scolari. Already a player with an excellent eye for the movement of his teammates, the arrival of Deco seems to have inspired him to greater heights of playmaking and midfield direction. I don’t want to make too much of the demolition of Boro on Saturday simply because (no offence Boro) the opposition were so anaemic, but despite his only scoring one of the five he was comfortably man of the match for me. For the third or fourth time in only 8 League games. With Bosingwa and Terry, he’s the only player in Blue to have started all 8, has scored 3 and made 2, and hit a pass rate of 85%. Looking back, did we REALLY consider selling him? And for the ludicrous figure of £10m? If buying Andriy Shevchenko for £30m was a stinker in the transfer market, selling the most consistent goal-scoring midfielder in the world for a nominal sum (in top-level footballing terms) would surely have ranked alongside it.

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