Two English legends are headed to opposite coasts of the Untied States and are set to take Major League Soccer by storm.
One is fresh off the very first transfer of his career after spending his entire soccer life at Liverpool. Steven Gerrard has had an illustrious career in Red, and now suits up for the LA Galaxy, likely to make his debut this weekend against Club America in an International Champions Cup friendly at StubHub Center.
The other comes over from spells at Chelsea and Manchester City which saw him become one of England’s most complete midfielders. Frank Lampard was meant NYCFC career at home as well, against Toronto FC this weekend at Yankee Stadium, but has picked up a calf injury and will likely have to wait a week.
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The kicker is they’re 35 and 37 years old. What do they have left in the tank? Gerrard looked to be slightly fading down the stretch of his final Premier League season, and while Lampard scored a handful of goals off the bench for Manchester City, he failed to make any serious impact for 90 minutes. So what will Major League Soccer be getting?
That’s as much about the past as it is about the future. The two players often played alongside each other on the English national team for many years, but the two drew a different class of follower. Joe Prince-Wright took an in-depth look at the dichotomy of the two players for NBC’s SportsWorld:
Like I said, Gerrard and Lampard are the same … but at the same time, very different.
For many, the Gerrard-or-Lampard debate wasn’t purely down to which team you supported or whom you preferred as a player. It reflected your social class and beliefs in post-millennium Britain. Lampard is a self-confessed supporter of the Conservative party, while Gerrard comes from the heartland of the British Labour party. But put aside their vastly contrasting socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds and one thing that isn’t different is their desire to win.
Gerrard rose through Liverpool’s academy and despite being knocked back at a young age as the likes of Michael Owen and others were pushed on to the national stage, he persisted with his game and had to curb a violent streak which almost saw him thrown off of the club for numerous incidents related to reckless tackling. Now you know where the “Steve Gerrard, Gerrard. He’ll pass the ball 40-yards. He’s big and he’s f***ing hard. Steve Gerrard, Gerrard,” song comes from (sung to the tune of “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be).”
Lampard speaks of doing his “spikes” each and every day throughout his time growing up. He would put on special running shoes and run sprints until his lungs were about to burst. His father gave him inside tips on how to succeed in soccer, but the elder Lampard could only do so much. From a young age the younger Lampard had that desire to succeed, but also the ability and soccer brain to go with it. However, ask any West Ham United fan today what they think of Lampard. It’s unlikely to be a particularly pleasant exchange.
The two will now enter a totally different style of soccer, one that has the potential to lengthen great careers, but also one that has the potential to swallow those same greats whole.