Rio Ferdinand admits playing for England when Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard were paired in midfield meant ‘carnage’ and ‘graft’, as he slams tactically inept former bosses for squandering star duo’s talent
- Rio Ferdinand slammed ex-England managers for not getting the best out of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard
- The two world-class club performers never clicked on the international stage together
- Ferdinand said ‘way off’ tactics left the duo with ‘carnage’ and ‘graft’ in midfield
Rio Ferdinand has slammed former England managers for failing to get the best out of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in midfield, due to being ‘way off’ tactically and instead leaving the team with ‘carnage’ and ‘graft’.
One of the greatest conundrums of England’s so-called ‘golden generation’ was the fact that, despite both being exceptional talismanic players for their clubs, Gerrard and Lampard could not click when playing together on the international stage.
The pair have a mammoth 220 England caps between them, with 50 goals to boot. But successive managers from Sven Goran-Eriksson and Steve McLaren to Fabio Capello failed to get the best of out them.
Rio Ferdinand has slammed tactical failings for Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard not working for England
Gerrard and Lampard’s inability to click was one of the big frustrations of the ‘golden generation’
Various combinations and positions were tried, with Capello infamously derided for playing Gerrard as a left winger for a time.
Now Ferdinand has placed the blame squarely on the England coaches for their tactical ineptitude, claiming the superstar duo were constantly left exposed in central midfield without a defensive midfielder in behind them.
‘There was never that person in their (England) teams,’ Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five podcast.
Fabio Capello infamously played Gerrard on the left wing for England, which he was slammed for
‘Stevie always had like (Xabi) Alonso or someone like that with him, (Gary) McAllister before that. Frank had a (Claude) Makelele, the short passer and knitting things together, and (Jon Obi) Mikel and that.
‘It was never about them not being able to play together. Every game they played together they were a two in midfield. We played two in midfield against another team that had three, four, five players in there to create overloads.
‘Three midfielders with a No 10 dropping in or a wide man playing narrow, whatever.’
Ferdinand (second right) said successive managers had ‘way off’ tactics that didn’t help the superstar duo
Ferdinand continued that it meant games for England were never easy, and he recalled a particular match in which the Three Lions were superior on paper, but it did not translate to the pitch.
‘I remember playing against (Alexander) Hleb’s team, Belarus away, graft. Carnage, because we were getting overrun in midfield,’ Ferdinand said.
‘And it wasn’t about Steve Gerrard and Frank Lampard, (Paul) Scholes or (David Beckham or whoever, it was tactically we were way off and playing a rigid 4-4-2 most of the time.
Being overrun in midfield meant Gerrard and Lampard dealt with ‘carnage’, Ferdinand claimed
‘It don’t matter who you have got in there. On paper, that midfield of Scholes, Gerrard, Lampard, Beckham, Owen Hargreaves, (Michael) Carrick – that’s six and I could name more.
‘That six, on paper, is with anyone else in the world at the time. Top three or four midfields on paper.
‘But when you throw them together like we did then you are at a loss and you are probably tenth or 12th.’