Given his contributions, or lack thereof, with New York City FC this season, Frank Lampard is in desperate need of some good PR. Monday’s BBC release provided nothing of the sort, as the disconnect between NYCFC fans and their English Designated Player reached yet another level.
BBC announced on Monday that Lampard would be one member of the network’s Euro 2016 coverage team. Lampard is far from the first MLS player to partake in overseas media work, but Monday’s announcement certainly made him the most scrutinized.
Lampard’s NYCFC saga is well known. Following a lengthy contract debate that preceded his time with the club, Lampard finally made the move stateside after completing a full season on loan with parent club Manchester City. The Englishman’s first season never truly got going, with just 10 appearances and three goals serving as a highlight of the 2015 season.
2016 has proven far worse for the 37-year-old. Despite commanding a $6 million salary, Lampard has yet to play a minute for NYCFC this season. Repeatedly asked about his star’s absence, head coach Patrick Vieira himself says he is unsure of when Lampard will return from a series of injuries that have plagued him since initially joining MLS.
That makes Lampard’s decision to participate in BBC’s coverage all the more tone-deaf, even if the midfielder will spend exactly as much time in France as he has on the field for NYCFC this season; none.
It’s not the idea of multitasking, as Thierry Henry, Steven Gerrard and Tim Howard have juggled playing careers with British punditry over the years. Rather, it’s the fact that, if things continue, Lampard won’t be multitasking at all while still collecting a massive paycheck from his primary employers, NYCFC.
In Lampard’s defense, the idea of making a few TV appearances has little to no impact on his ability to get, and ultimately stay, healthy. Putting on makeup and discussing games a half a world away won’t suddenly harm his ailing hamstrings any further, and they certainly won’t prevent him from training with NYCFC any time soon.
But for a player that has had fans calling for his head before he even put on a jersey, the decision provides another dark mark on what was supposed to be a monumental move. While captain David Villa has reached, and likely even exceeded, every single expectation, Lampard has reached none of them with time dwindling on his chance to do so.
When all is said and done, Lampard’s work with BBC may serve as little more than a blip for a player still preparing for his life away from the game. But if Lampard’s current issues continue, it could become yet another defining moment in what has proven to be a failed experiment with NYCFC.