LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 25: Frank Lampard of Chelsea celebrates as he scores their fifth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Stoke City at Stamford Bridge on April 25, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
Much has been made by the tabloid media of Frank Lampard leaving the pitch as Josh McEachran was inserted into the contest, but if this report is to be believed it was far less sinister than the media would ever let you know about. According to the report, Lampard simply went into the dressing room to use the bathroom before coming back out for his post game warm down. He then returned to the pitch where he warmed down with the rest of the squad. While the source for this groundbreaking news remains anonymous, it certainly seems like a logical explanation for Lampard heading down the tunnel. Unlike the reports of Lampard's temper tantrum, at least this report claims to have a source other than a simple snapshot from which they jumped to conclusions.
This whole situation has left me scratching my head. Lampard is now 33 years old and clearly struggles to cover the same amount of ground as he used to. There's little reason to believe he's going to continue to play 90 minutes in every contest, especially given the depth we have in the center of the midfield at the moment. If this was United, the press would be kissing AVB's backside about how he's wonderfly transitioning Lampard into a better role for the aging star. Since it's a younger manager they seem to feel the need to make it look like he's losing control of the squad.
Why the media feels they have to look to conjure up controversy at all times never ceases to amaze me. McEachran was clearly the proper choice at that juncture, as having minutes to go with a big lead at home against a newly promoted side seems a very logical time to play your youngsters. A seasoned pro like Lampard is certainly going to recognize this, and I can't imagine not getting a cameo with a 3-0 lead was really all that upsetting to him. Had Lampard been inserted in McEachran's place I'm sure the media would feel the need to report negatively on the fact that youth are never given the chance to break into the Chelsea first team.
Instead of playing up a positive story about McEachran earning himself minutes in a loaded Chelsea squad, the tabloid press feels like they need to create a negative story out of nothing to attract readers. At the very least they could have waited to publish their story until after they had asked about it at the post game presser. As pointed out in the comments of the earlier Lampard story, it's not exactly uncommon to see a player leave the bench after all of the substitutions have been used. It's really a rather sad situation and likely a good part of the reason that the general public is taking tabloid "reports" less seriously on the whole. The lack of quality in most mainstream "reporting" and commentary is just becoming laughable at this point, and it really makes it hard for me to take anything they say or print without a grain of salt.