BERN: England midfielder Frank Lampard admits the stars of the Premier League can learn something from the spirit which helped carry Britain's athletes to their best showing at an Olympic Games in over a century.
Team GB's haul of 65 medals, including 29 gold, was their best performance since London first hosted the Games in 1908, and their success has been seen as a major boost to the nation as a whole.
But after 17 days toasting the feats of Team GB, many people now appear to be dreading the prospect of the start of a new football season, with the supposedly over-paid and over-hyped stars of the Premier League dominating the headlines once again.
Speaking on the eve of England's friendly international against Italy in the Swiss capital Bern, Lampard defended football's reputation, but admitted that there are lessons for the game to learn.
“The Olympics was a fantastic occasion and we were fortunate to hold it, and hold it so well,” he said.
“You get the obvious comparisons. We know we have our failures in football, and as people everybody has them.
“The atmosphere of the crowd and the interaction of the different countries together was great to see. I think if we all can take lessons from the Olympics then we will be better for it.”
The Chelsea star said he felt “very lucky” to attend the Olympic Stadium and witness Usain Bolt's triumph in the 200m and the world record-breaking run to 800m gold by Kenya's David Rudisha, but insisted that there are plenty of reasons why football will always remain unique.
“I think it’s natural to compare football and Team GB. Team GB performed very well and in a very sportsman-like way,” he said.
“The atmosphere at football is a different thing completely when you're in a stadium. It can be more hostile on the pitch and off the pitch.
“I think we all love football for what it is and if you took that away it wouldn't be the same. In football we're all born with our allegiances and it becomes like a religion to people who watch it.
“I'm sure in two months we will be back to normal but let's hope we learn a few lessons at the same time.”