27 Sept 2013

'He's the best': Man Utd hero stuns club's fans with shock LFC view. Betrayal...?

A few weeks ago, Reds legend Jamie Carragher argued that Steven Gerrard is a better player than both Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes, and opinion that irritated fellow Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville. It's an understandable reaction as you'd expect Man Utd players to back Scholes, one of the club's most important players in the Premier League era. That's not always the case, though, and Utd fans will be disappointed to discover that Old Trafford hero Bryan Robson is not towing the company line here.

According to Robson, Gerrard IS a better player than Scholes. He told the Daily Mail today:

"For me he [Gerrard] can do everything and that's the reason I'd say he was the best of the three if I had to split them ahead of Scholes and Lampard in that order.

"They are all top professionals and each brought different attributes and strengths but Gerrard can tackle, defend, score goals, head it, make a telling precision pass, dictate the tempo and is a powerful runner. He has a bit more to his game".

Like Kenny Dalglish and John Barnes, Gerrard is a once-in-a-generation player, and LFC fans are extremely lucky to have had him at the club over the last fifteen years. It seems to me, however, that the criteria used by Robson to judge the three players is a little unfair.

* Not every successful midfielder has to be a jack of all trades. Gerrard excels in a few different areas, and is undoubtedly the best all-round player of the three, but when it comes to individual aspects of the game, he is not (IMO) the best.

* Lampard is inarguably a better attacking midfielder. His goal/assists stats prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt:



* 159 goals/101 assists in 634 apps (31 penalties)
* Goal every 4 apps.
* Goal/Assist every 2.4 apps.


* 242 goals/125 assists in 809 apps. (58 penalties)
* Goal every 3.3 games
* Goal/Assist every 2.2 apps.

Correct at 14 Sep 2013

* Scholes is arguably superior when it comes to ball retention, dictating the pace of play. When you want someone to be disciplined and command the play in central midfield, Scholes is your man. He won't lose possession with needless Hollywood balls, and he won't lose tactical discipline when the pressure is on.

Only in England are players lauded as the 'best' for being jacks of all trades. Just because someone can tackle, pass, run, head and score doesn't mean they're better than a specialist in the same position. For example, Andrea Pirlo might not be able to do everything Gerrard can do, but he is (IMO) a superior central midfielder, especially on the international stage.

Due to the tediously tribal nature of football, I'm sure many Man Utd fans will feel betrayed by Robson's stance, but I applaud him for making an attempt to be objective.

NOTE: Please stick to the Comment Policy (Click to read)


  1. Come on Jaimie are you on a wind up? It's not like Gerard is a Phill Jones, an do a job anywhere but doesn't excell. The point is Gerard does and has excelled in several roles. Right back very good, Right wing very good, AM and Second Striker very good. Midfield General very good. I agree that those players are better at those specific roles but Gerard is way above average at all the roles he has played. Thats more than a "jack of all trades" thats an all round player. But I'm sure you know that, but the site needs clicks.

  2. GERRARD!!!
    But I am very biased for obvious reasons. The stats however would suggest Lampard is better.
    But I just feel that Gerrard has, in previous years, had the ability to really step up and win games for Liverpool (and England for that matter) more so than Lampard and Scholes.

  3. Yes, I'm on a 'wind-up' because I have a different view to you. You conveniently ignore the fact I called Gerrard a 'once in a generation' player, and that I would rather have him than Lampard/Scholes.

    Just because Gerrard excels in several roles doesn't mean he's the best (IMO). It would be preferable if he excelled consistently in one role. Take his current form, for example. In my view, being versatile means that his individual impact in specific roles suffers. He should be performing at a much higher level in central midfield right now, but he isn't. Contrast Gerrard with central midfield specialist Pirlo, and you can see the difference.

  4. You yourself said Gerrard is a better all rounder and that's what others mean and so it is. You can say I am biased but Gerrard is actually once in a lifetime player.

  5. Yes, Gerrard is the better all-rounder, but why does that make him the best? In terms of specific, measurable impact, Lampard is the superior attacking mid, and I'm sure Scholes probably has superior passing accuracy (I'll have to double-check that)

    For me, specialists are more important than all-rounders. I'd rather have a specialist left/right winger than, say, Henderson - a bit of an allrounder like Gerrard - playing on the right.

  6. gerrard scores big goals in the most important time
    lampard also does bit to a lesser extent
    how did england not take advantage of theese three genius
    it was simple gerrard cdm , scholes cm and lamaprd cam

  7. Think of it as a game of top trumps, in most of the areas you would consider important for a midfielder Gerrard comes out on top in comparison to the others. Sure there are certain stats that he might be bettered, but as a top trumps card he'd be the one you'd want to have as he is better at more things than the other 2.

  8. anyway 352 looks very good
    a) it means we can utilize more of our defenders
    b) johnson and enrique can attack which they excel at
    c)suarez,sturridge and coutinho all play in their favoured position

    mignolet,toure,skrtel,agger,johnson,enrique,gerrard,henderson,coutinho,suarez and sturridge
    that is one hell of a team
    bench jones,kelly,sakho,allen,alberto,moses,aspas
    btw wasn't allen meant to be back 3 weeks ago he is a key player and what we have been missing

  9. plus if lampard was better then gerrard why would mourinho want gerrard at chelsea when they play same position and why did mourinho chase gerrard at madrid and not lampard
    scholes is just as good though

  10. jamie , do you think suso is as good as wilshere ?
    imo , he can be just as good passer as skillful and hopefully the loan move imporves his desicion making

  11. Scholes was by far the better the player and everyone who matters knows it.

  12. Gerrard, any day.

  13. Why is such an obvious choice even put forward for discussion?

  14. lol comparing an elephant and a cat..come on.....Henderson all rounder? got to be kidding... playing at different position DOES NOt make a player an all -rounder, EXCELLING in the position DOES......i rather have 3 all-rounder n let opponent guessing than have 3 specialist where opponent knows well of their speciality YNWA

  15. Carra claimed that Gerrard and Lampard scored in and influenced bigger games and rated them above Scholes. Neville countered saying that Scholes influenced many matches by dictating play and bossing midfield. Both fair arguments.

    I have the most respect for Scholes than any other current/former United player. What if we had him in our team right now with his ability to control the whole match...Pirlo is similar.

    However the question in the poll contrasts the theme of this article. To consider the 'best' in general you must include all areas of football. Encompassing all areas of football would suggest Gerrard is the 'best'. Therefore the greatest all rounder or jack of all trades would win this debate, Gerrard. If you wan't to be more specific and say "who's the 'best' at attacking" for example, there are specific and measurable stats and attributes you can assess to determine who is better in that aspect, however that's not what your question is so you can't negate people who vote for Gerrard and claim that he is a better all rounder.

  16. Im a huge fan of our capt...but sorry i vote for Scholes

  17. Yeah but Jack of all trades? How does that saying finish? Mater of none? Is that a fair assessment of Gerard. When comparing the three though he may not be a specialist but he is one if the best in the league in his current position. Despite his age I think Gerard will get better in his current role.

  18. The question isn't who is the best attacker, or who is the best deep lying player it is who is the BEST player. So the player who is the better all round player is the best surely?

  19. Come on now. Gerard on the right was far far better than Henderson on the right.

  20. Not surprising. Gerard is Robson's like for like successor in English football. Gerard returned the compliment too in his youth when the only scum jersey he ever owned had Robson's number on the back.

  21. Put it this way if you played a 4 man midfield CDM + 2 CM + AM which would be the best mid 4 if you had say 4 Gerrard's,4 Schole's,4 Lampard's playing all the 4 positions? Who can play all of those positions equally but has all the attributes in each position to still be considered world class in all of those positions? If you look at it this way would be a fairer way to decide who out the 3 is the best midfielder because they are all different types of mids. Lampard is an AM thats where he has played the most,Scholes is more a deep lying playmaker,Gerrard has played more as a CM or AM mostly so which of the 3 would be able to perform the best in any of all the midfield positions & still be considered a world class player? My opinion is Gerrard as I feel as the game is mainly won & lost in the midfield Gerrard in his prime would be able to turn a game,take the game by the scruff of the neck & be a match winner in everyone of those positions so has to be Gerrard for me.

  22. Agreed. Just between the 3 players, Gerard is probably the worst attacker, but he defends better than either of the other 2(even in spite of giving away our last 2 goals). Gerard also distributes the ball better than Lampard and is superior to the other 2 on the wings.

  23. Well, Jamie you see its Gerrard who breathes LFC since he was born I think and he is the soul of the club in modern era.

    About the specialists, I understand why you need them but you see even though he's an all rounder its what that comes in handy rather than specialists at times. I think Gerrard is almost exceptional at whatever he does but not the best at something specific, it might be that lately the age has got the better of him. He needs rest and should be given it, rather than playing full 90 minutes in every match if we want him for longer.

    I guess a Gerrard is what every club wants for themselves because they've enough of specialists, even today top teams want Gerrard and that's a fact when compared to others. Gerrard is one helluva player who cannot be replaced in any form, be it game or character (IMO).

  24. Scholes is more consistent in a game than Gerrard; he simply gives the ball away less. He could only play AM for a relatively short period, dropping back int the playmaker role where is excellent passing was put to good use.

    Gerrard however imo produces more moments which transform games, has a better range of shooting. They are both part of our top 5 midfielders in recent times, alongside Gascoigne, Hoddle and Robson himself.

    But Gerrard shades it for me : he gets closer to Scholes' best attributes than Scholes does to Stevie's. And Scholes became pretty much ineffective when placed wider, left or right.

  25. If Gerrard is a better all arounder then he is better than the other two..End of story!!!

  26. Gerrard and Scholes would have made a perfect midfield partnership. Gerrard does it all while Scholes controls the play. Robson is entitled to his view, he was a great player himself.

  27. He didn't own the shirt, it was his friends shirt then he dad saw him wearing it up and yelled at him "No son of mine will wear that shit" :)

  28. Robson is right - Gerrard can do everything. The others are better in their individual aspects but overall as Gerrard can excel in all departments he is better.

  29. Scholes. I have a preference for central midfield playmakers like him, Xavi, Pirlo, Veron, Riquelme, etc.

  30. jaimie my brother is good friends with glen whelan the stoke player and he reckons having played against the two that lampard is excellent but wouldnt lace gerrards boots

  31. and you have a labrador to help ye cross the road

  32. A far too simplistic way of deciding who is the better player. Statistics are not a basis for comparison as they have all played in teams of differing abilities. If Gerrard had played for Chelsea or Man Utd in the place of either Lampard or Scholes he would almost certainly have scored far more goals than the other two.

    Gerrard played most of his career in a Liverpool side that was slightly below Man Utd and Chelsea's overall level, he carried Liverpool for many years and I doubt Lampard or Scholes could have done the same if they had been faced with that situation.

    Comparing players or teams of different generations is always a pointless debate as there is never going to be a definitive conclusion, and I feel it is pretty similar in this situation as all three players have played under different circumstances.

  33. gerrard is a Bugatti and the other two are mercs

  34. I think they're at least equal. Scholes was a bit quieter becuase he doesn't have that swashbuckling, high risk style that Gerrard has. I reckon however Scholes was better at dictating tempo of the game, and is more tactically disciplined. Think of Scholes as Obi Wan Kenobi and Gerrard as Anakin Skywalker

  35. Stats do not tell the truth, never have and never will. They are a tool employed by Journo's to further an argument or prove or disprove a point.
    For example, 2 players tussle for a ball on the end line, it goes out and the Ref awards a corner, TV replay clearly show 100% it should not have been a corner. The stats will show it as a corner, (not the truth). Thats one of a million faults with Stats.

  36. Gerrard adds versatility which tactically is an asset and adds great leadership and like or not they are valuable traits in any side.
    Would like to say i rate Scholes ahead of Lampard too by a bit.
    Also dont reckon Pirlo would be as good in the EPL as Serie A.

  37. Sorry, that's just not true. The entire world is underpinned by stats. In every sphere of existence, stats are used in every conceivable way, and there's a reason for that: they're accurate.

    Stats are far more persuasive than human perception, especially in football, and the example you provide is not typical of the way persuasive stats are used in football.

  38. That s a good one - Scholes as Obi Wan and Gerrard as Anakin! Very well put, I must say.

  39. Mark Twain got it spot on when he said 'There are three forms of deception: lies, damned lies and statistics.'

    I keep hearing from my Swiss friends that their trains are always in time. I've only ever caught one train in Switzerland and it was late. So in my experience, 100% of trains I have caught in Switzerland have been late!

    If Fabio Borini played on loan for Poole Town, his stats would be incredibly impressive.

    Goals scored in x-games means very little: what is better, one who scored the single winning goal in three successive games against Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal (stats show 3 in 3) or another who scored a hat-trick against Crystal Palace in a 4-3 defeat (stats show 3 in 1)?

    I rest my case!