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In an impassioned appeal to football fans, Frank Lampard has defended Wayne Rooney from “lazy” criticism and said that his fellow England player is cute, sensitive and sharp, and also has a great sense of humour.
Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live, Frank Lampard made the following comments on Wayne Rooney. Lampard, to his credit, has always been an eloquent speaker who has put to rest the erroneous notion that footballers are “thick” – his now-famous radio phone-in to defend himself on-air was an instant classic, and he’s gone close to those heights by speaking up for his “close friend” Wayne Rooney.
“People who call [Rooney] thick, it’s just a lazy thing to say by looking at him and saying, ‘He’s a footballer, he looks quite tough because he’s come from that background,’ and all that kind of stuff, but he is sharp.
I think the people who are calling him thick have got a certain element of thickness about them, because they haven’t even invested the time to speak to him. He doesn’t speak to the press that much for them to make that judgment of him.
He’s a confident boy and he has a sensitive side to him. During the World Cup we’d sit in a room together and watch some of the other games and stuff like that.
If you read the headlines of the last few weeks you can get an impression of someone but he’s a very sensitive lad, you can have a good conversation with him about anything you want. He’s a very cute, worldly lad for how young he is. He has no problem relating to older players, he treats everyone the same.
Some people like to align themselves to the bigger names in the squad, to speak to certain players or stick to their own little group. Wayne talks to David Beckham the same as he would to a new player who’s just come into the squad from Stoke or Bolton, and that’s the beauty of him I think as a person.
He’s got a great sense of humour. I love being around people who will make me laugh and he makes you laugh constantly. When you’re sat at a dinner table with 20 people he can dominate the conversation just through wit and the confidence in the way he speaks.
He looks like he has this bulldog way about him, a little powerhouse, and then the first day he trained you could see he had this touch and awareness that was …like a genius touch.
I’d only seen three players in my career like that – Paolo Di Canio, Gianfranco Zola and Paul Gascoigne when I was a kid training with England – that had this genius kind of thing about them, and Wayne had that instantly as a 17-year-old.”
Props to Lampard for coming out and speaking up for Wayne Rooney in such a detailed, impassioned manner. Cynical minds would consider this a Barcelona-esque ploy to lure Rooney to Chelsea, but from where I stand it’s one friend standing up for another friend – even if it’s entirely transparent.
On the post title: The cute, sensitive and ‘makes me laugh’ comments cracked me up. It’s a shame that a relative outsider (i.e. Chelsea player) had to stand up for Rooney.
On the photo selection: It’s a pretty old photo (when was the last time Hargreaves was in the England squad?) which is apt for the reminiscing Lampard seems to be doing about ‘Wazza’.
Here’s hoping that Rooney comes back to Manchester United and hits the ground running with a few goals in his first couple of games. It’s going to be impossible for United fans to forget what he did, but at least both sides can do their best to make the future work, however long or short it may be.