The greatest goalscoring midfielder English football has ever seen, Frank Lampard was one of the Premier League Hall of Fame’s first inductees in 2021.
|Date of Birth||20/06/1978|
|Place of Birth||London|
|Premier League club(s)||West Ham, Chelsea, Man City|
|Premier League appearances||609|
|Premier League goals||177|
|Premier League assists||102|
|Premier League titles||3|
Eventually developing into one of the most distinguished English midfielders of all time, it’s fair to say Frank Lampard had to grind his way to the top.
The son of West Ham legend Frank Lampard Sr, who made over 500 appearances for the Hammers, Lampard Jr joined the club as an apprentice in the youth team aged 16 before signing a professional contract the following year.
At the time, Frank Lampard Sr was serving as West Ham’s assistant manager alongside his brother-in-law Harry Redknapp as manager, leading to accusations of nepotism towards a young Frank Jr as he made his first forays into the first team.
Making his senior debut for West Ham in January 1996 as a substitute against Coventry City, it took time for Lampard to prove himself to the Hammers faithful.
In a famous resurfaced video clip from a fans forum in 1996, West Ham manager Harry Redknapp offered a robust defence of criticism aimed at an 18-year-old Lampard, affirming his belief that his nephew would go ‘right to the very top’ of the game.
Lampard would be forced to contend with more unsavoury treatment from West Ham supporters when jeered off the pitch after breaking his leg in a 0-0 draw away at Aston Villa in 1997, an incident which reportedly made the youngster consider quitting the game altogether.
He eventually found his feet at Upton Park, however, becoming a first team regular during the 1997/98 season with 42 appearances and an impressive nine goals in all competitions.
Lampard was an ever-present the following year in 1998/99 as West Ham achieved their best ever Premier League finish of fifth to qualify for the UEFA Intertoto Cup.
West Ham went on to win the Intertoto Cup at the beginning of the 1999/00 campaign – with Lampard netting in the Hammers’ 3-1 away victory against Metz in the second leg of the final – to grant them direct entry into the more prestigious UEFA Cup.
The 1999/00 season saw Lampard’s goalscoring instincts from midfield come to the fore, with the Londoner finishing as West Ham’s third top goalscorer in all competitions with an admirable 14 behind strikers Paolo Di Canio and Paulo Wanchope.
The following season, 2000/01, saw the Hammers struggle to a 15th-place finish in the Premier League, but Lampard still managed to commendably muster nine goals.
The summer of 2001 saw West Ham boss Harry Redknapp – along with his assistant Lampard Sr - exit Upton Park by mutual consent after seven years at the club.
With his father departing the club on bad terms, and Lampard the subject of transfer interest from elsewhere, the midfielder controversially opted to swap East London for West London and join Chelsea in an £11m deal.
The rest, as they say, was history.
An £11m deal for Frank Lampard was widely viewed as a gamble for a cash-strapped Chelsea in 2001.
Lampard appeared in every Premier League match for Chelsea in his debut season in 2001/02 as the Blues finished sixth in the table, and scored eight goals in all competitions.
The Englishman’s Chelsea career would truly take off after Roman Abramovich bought the club in June 2003, with the box-to-box midfielder named runner-up behind Thierry Henry as FWA Footballer of the Year at the end of the 2003/04 season, after reaching double figures in goals in the Premier League as the Blues finished second behind the famous Arsenal Invincibles.
There would be no looking back for Lampard from that point onwards, with a certain Jose Mourinho replacing Claudio Ranieri as Chelsea manager in the summer of 2004.
The Portuguese manager helped elevate Lampard’s game up a further notch, with the England international registering an outstanding 31 goal contributions – 13 goals and 18 assists – as the Blues were crowned Premier League champions for the first time in 2004/05.
Lampard and Chelsea would retain the Premier League title the next year in 2005/06, with Blues boss Mourinho naming the Blues’ number eight as the “best player in the world” with the midfielder finishing as the club’s top scorer in the league on 16.
Over the course of the 2005/06 campaign, Lampard broke David James’ Premier League record for number of consecutive appearances with 164, in testament to his phenomenal consistency and dedication.
The 2006/07 season saw Lampard take on the Chelsea captaincy for an extended period following a back injury sustained by defensive stalwart John Terry, with the Blues finishing second in the Premier League behind Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man Utd but still securing a domestic Double with the FA Cup and League Cup claimed.
The following year, 2007/08, was to be a frustrating one for Lampard and Chelsea, with Mourinho exiting Stamford Bridge not long into the campaign and the West London side failing to accrue any major silverware for the first time in four seasons.
The Blues would again fail to win back their Premier League title in 2008/09, finishing third behind Man Utd and Liverpool, but they did secure the club’s fifth FA Cup trophy with Lampard scoring over 20 goals in all competitions for the fourth season in a row.
Acclaimed Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti arrived at Chelsea in the summer of 2009, with the former Juventus and Milan boss inspiring the Blues to a spectacular campaign in which they scooped the domestic Double of the Premier League and FA Cup.
Frank Lampard was at the heart of Chelsea’s success in 2009-10, scoring a remarkable 27 goals in all competitions.
Chelsea were to experience somewhat of a hangover from their Double heroics in the 2010-11 campaign, with Lampard enduring an injury hampered season in which the Blues came away empty handed, finishing second behind Man Utd in the Premier League.
Lampard and Co suffered a further drop-off in the Premier League in 2011-12, recording their lowest league finish in 10 seasons in sixth place, but were able to miraculously make up for it in cup competitions – with caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo leading Chelsea to both the FA Cup and Champions League.
Aged 34, the 2012-13 season would see Lampard surpass Bobby Tambling as Chelsea’s all-time record goalscorer, with his second goal in a 2-1 victory at Aston Villa in the Premier League his 203rd for the club in all competitions.
2013-14 was to mark Lampard’s final campaign in Chelsea blue, with the legendary midfielder exiting the club upon the expiry of his contract after a decorated 13-year stay in which he had won 11 major trophies.
After it was announced in the summer of 2014 that Lampard had signed a two-year contract with MLS side New York City FC, it was assumed that Lampard’s time in the Premier League had come to an end.
This was not to be, however, with the English icon controversially spending the 2014-15 season at the American side’s parent club - none other than Manchester City, where he would face his beloved Chelsea.
Lampard made 32 Premier League appearances for City and scored six goals – with his first effort inevitably coming against former club Chelsea in a 1-1 draw at the Etihad.
Although he was unable to add to his mammoth haul of trophies in English football at City, Lampard still made a positive contribution at the club before eventually making his long-awaited switch to the MLS with New York City FC.
Racking up an astonishing 609 Premier League appearances, Lampard collected three league titles at Chelsea and currently sits sixth in the all-time goalscoring standings with 177 – the most of any midfielder by a distance.
Although Lampard was a footballer with an all-round skillset, it was the consistency of his unparalleled goalscoring exploits from midfield which make him an undeniable Premier League great.
Operating as a box-to-box midfielder for the majority of his career, Lampard was a versatile player who could be used in various midfield roles.
A hard-working player with great athleticism, Lampard also developed into a leader on the pitch as his career progressed.
Although he had a well-rounded skillset, it was Lampard’s ability to consistently score goals from midfield which made him stand out as a great of the game.
An outstanding finisher with both feet, Lampard was a master at timing late runs into the box to get on the end of crosses as well as finding the net from distance.
Lampard’s goal record was also bolstered by his set-piece taking ability, with the midfielder on free-kick and penalty duty for Chelsea throughout his stay at Stamford Bridge.
Since retiring as a player in 2016, Lampard has gone on to work in coaching and the media.
In 2018, he was appointed manager of Championship club Derby, taking the Rams to the play-off final in his first campaign in charge which they lost 2-1 to Aston Villa at Wembley.
After just one season at Derby, Lampard received his dream opportunity to manage Chelsea, handed the reins at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2019 with the club in the midst of a transfer embargo.
Despite an inability to sign new players, Lampard impressed in his first term as Chelsea boss, guiding the club to a top four finish and an FA Cup final whilst blooding a number of academy players into the first team such as Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham.
Things went awry the following season, however, with Lampard sacked in January 2021 with the Blues languishing in ninth place in the Premier League table.
The ex-England international resumed his managerial career with Everton in March 2022, with Lampard narrowly steering the Toffees to Premier League safety after a perilous relegation battle.
Results did not pick up the following season at Goodison Park, and Lampard was relieved of his duties just under a year into the job in January 2023 with Everton once again set for a battle against the drop.
In April 2023, Lampard made an unexpected return to the managerial hotseat on a temporary basis at Chelsea, with the Blues in need of a safe pair of hands after removing Graham Potter from his position with just over 10 matches of the season remaining.
The Chelsea icon was unable to improve results at Stamford Bridge in his interim spell, and departed the club at the conclusion of the 2022/23 campaign with Mauricio Pochettino installed as the new manager.
Not only is Frank Lampard the highest scoring midfielder of all time in the Premier League (177 goals), he has also scored the most goals from outside the box of any player (41).