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Why Frank Lampard not being on the PFA award shortlist is a disgrace


charierre

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There is one glaring omission from the PFA Player of the Year nominations.

How on earth Frank Lampard has not made the shortlist of six is incredible. Absolutely incredible.

It is not just Lampard's part in Chelsea's epic eight-goal Champions League thriller with Liverpool on Tuesday night.

Lampard has been delivering exceptional performances all season long and has scored 18 goals from 46 starts.

That is a ratio better than one goal every three games from midfield which is an astonishing return, no matter that Lampard does it year after year.

It's almost as if Lampard has set himself such incredibly high standards that he has not been nominated because this season is just the norm.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Lampard necessarily deserves to win the award outright but not even to get into the top six is just criminal.

If you look at the other nominations then there's one for me that sticks out like a sore thumb.

Steven Gerrard has been Mr Liverpool this season and his performances have been so good that respected figures like Michel Platini have called him the best player in the world.

Manchester united keeper Edwin van der Sar has set a new record with 14 consecutive clean sheets.

Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are also on the list for their contribution to United's incredible defensive record which has helped them sit proudly on top of the Premier League for almost all of the season.

There's even the sentimental vote in there for Ryan Giggs in a Brits-style outstanding lifetime services to the game. He's been brilliant, too.

But the one that gets me is Cristiano Ronaldo. All season long we've been berating him about his performances and how he's not been as good as last season.

Ronaldo scored an incredible goal for United to pull off a great win in Porto on Wednesday night. But, for me, Ronaldo has still not hit last season's incredible heights because his head was turned last summer by Real Madrid.

Frankly, I think he will go to Real Madrid this summer and it's as if he's already there from some of his performances.

He's not been at the races for much of the season. He's simply not performed consistently and has rarely lived up to his status as World and European Player of the Year.

Ronaldo has scored 21 goals but he's a forward who is expected to get in amongst the top scorers.

Compare that to Lampard's return and suddenly it doesn't look so impressive.

Lampard is 30, has fought his way back into the England team as a regular, is a superb professional, great trainer and is an inspiration.

Just look at the Champions League quarter final. Chelsea were all over the shop. They'd gone store detective, as my mate would say.

That's when you need leaders. You need heroes in the trenches. You don't need lightweights like Salomon Kalou who got hauled off before half time. You need Frank Lampard.

Lampard, wearing the captain's armband in the absence of suspended John Terry, grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck, led his team and scored to put them ahead on the night.

When Liverpool threatened a second comeback, it was Lampard - who else? - who popped up to score Chelsea's fourth goal.

Even being the star performer in what is undoubtedly the game of the season is worth a nomination in itself, let alone the fact he's been putting it in week-in and week-out.

And before you start, I'm not a Chelsea fan. I'm just an admirer of a brilliant player, a real shining example to other English players.

Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson both had their say this week about the nominations.

Wenger criticised the fact that the votes - cast by fellow pros - had to be in before the end of February which is way before the business end of the campaign.

But I must just point out that Wenger was glowing in his praise for United, especially Vidic. There was certainly no fall-out between Wenger and Ferguson.

Ferguson, understandably, talked up his men and agreed that the votes should be cast later.

But just remember what Lampard was doing around Christmas, January and February.

On Boxing Day, he scored against West Brom, two days later he was magnificent and scored twice in a 2-2 draw at Fulham and then saved Chelsea from an FA Cup upset to Southend.

He also scored a late winner against Stoke which arguably saved Luiz Felipe Scolari's job - or at least gave him a stay of execution.

While some of the other Chelsea players weren't putting it in for Big Phil, the likes of Lampard and John Terry continued to dig deep.

Lampard also scored a crucial winner at Aston Villa before the end of February - a contender for Goal of the Month, surely - to keep Chelsea firmly placed in the top four after a wobble which had seen Scolari sacked.

I'd agree with the nominations of Gerrard, Vidic, van der Sar and even Giggs. But I can't see that Ferdinand has been better than Lampard week-in and week-out. His team have but we're talking individuals here.

Lampard has also been better and more consistent than Ronaldo.

Chelsea may finish up empty-handed this season. It's hard to see them beating Barcelona. And there's a lot of work to do in the FA Cup.

But when it comes to individuals and star performers, there have been few better than Lampard this season. B) ::clap2::

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