Frank Lampard is still scoring at 36 for Manchester City and can be an inspiration to under-fire Steven Gerrard

Frank Lampard came off the bench to score a crucial goal for 10-man Manchester City as they beat Southampton 3-0 at St Mary’s on Super Sunday. With Steven Gerrard enduring criticism, his fellow veteran midfielder ought to be an inspiration…

While Steven Gerrard deals with the speculation that comes with his omission from Liverpool’s Premier League starting line-up for the first time since New Year’s Day, he doesn’t have to look too far down the M62 for proof the Premier League can offer unlikely Indian summers for iconic midfielders.

Chants of ‘Super Frank’ rang out from St Mary’s as Manchester City’s travelling supporters saluted the contribution of the veteran at Southampton.

With the game in the balance, Manuel Pellegrini replaced Samir Nasri with Lampard – ostensibly to tighten things up - and the former England man duly responded with Premier League goal No.174.

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Lampard: Team spirit is the key

“As he’s shooting, you know it’s a goal,” said Jamie Carragher in the Sky Sports studio. “That’s just Frank Lampard. There’s no one better we’ve probably seen in the past 10 or 20 years in terms of that position coming onto a ball.

"I think he’s only one Premier League goal behind Thierry Henry and that’s an unbelievable stat for a central midfield player.”

Any thoughts his goalscoring contribution might be diminished at this stage in his career have already been banished.

Despite limited action, Lampard has scored five goals for City this season and the three Premier League goals have come at a better strike rate than anyone in the country. Better than Sergio Aguero. Better than Diego Costa.

More from Southampton V Man City

Understandably, there is now a feeling that the original plan for Lampard to leave for his New York adventure in the new year should be put on hold. Pellegrini seems keen to keep his man.

“I speak to Frank every day and I have the impression that he is playing better every day,” said the City boss. “I am certainly very happy with the loan so far.”

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Extended deal for Lampard?

Lampard is likely to be seen as a positive influence on and off the pitch. As a three-time Premier League winner with a Champions League medal, he has the respect of his peers and when Lampard talks of “spirit” and “determination” in his post-match interview with Geoff Shreeves it is easy to conclude they are qualities he is working to cultivate in his new team-mates.

“It’s nice to have people like Frank next to you because you can see him in training,” Gael Clichy told Sky Sports afterwards and while the 36-year-old is still contributing there seems little sense in breaking up the union just yet. “They have to keep him,” says Carragher. “I don’t know what’s going on with City and the link to New York but they have to keep him at the club.”

He is playing better every day. I am certainly very happy with the loan so far.
Manuel Pellegrini

Having played the full 90 minutes in the win over Bayern Munich, Lampard is likely to feature at Roma too as a result of Yaya Toure’s suspension. If things go their way in the Stadio Olimpico, City’s Champions League season will extend into March and make the need for an extension even more pressing.

Asked about the prospect of staying with City, Lampard told Sky Sports: “I don’t know. I’m not looking that far ahead. It’s nice that they’re saying that. It’s better that they’re saying that than that they can’t wait for me to go but we’ll see what happens with that.” The man with the bit-part role could yet have a big role to play. Food for thought as his old England midfield partner finds himself under scrutiny.

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