Don Garber and Major League Soccer have a fascination with former England internationals. From David Beckham to Jermain Defoe, Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard there has been a steady parade of former Three Lion stars who have moved to the U.S.
Some like Beckham have been stars in MLS, but many like Defoe and Gerrard came here for the money and cannot wait to move back home.
MLS fans are no longer enthralled by aging English national team players and that is very much they case in New York where Frank Lampard is arguably the worst Designated Player signing in MLS history.
Lampard was supposed to be one of the faces of the NYC FC franchise last season, but he arrived on mid-season because NYC FC parent clug Manchester City kept him unti the Premier League season was completed. He arrived in MLS injured and only made 10 appearances last season for NYC.
On Saturday, Lampard made his season debut, coming on in the 75th minute with his team losing 5-0 t0 bitter rivals New York Red Bulls. The reception that Lampard received far from welcoming from the home crowd.
The former Chelsea star was not amused by his Bronx welcome saying afterwards:
‘If I’m getting booed for being injured, there’s not much I can do about that.
What Lampard fails to understand is that he was not being booed for being injured. He was being booed because he is the sixth highest paid player in the league but has played in just 11 of NYC FC’s 46 games.
In the early days MLS was built on the CVs of former great players who were well part their sell by date. But the arrival of Sebastian Giovinco and Giovani dos Santos signified a new direction from the league. A move way from the aging Lampard, Gerrard and John Terry’s of the world and towards younger players who can grow and develop with the league.
And that is a great sign!