GUARDIAN – Oven-ready players deny room for grow-your-own talent to flourish | Richard Williams

Steven Gerrard, at Liverpool, and Frank Lampard, mainly Chelsea, bow out of the Premier League this month after extraordinary careers the likes of which we are unlikely to see again from an Englishman• Fabio Capello no closer to a midfield solutionThere will be a wistfully valedictory air to the end of this Premier League season as Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard make their last appearances in competitive English football, their distinguished careers – with more than 1,100 league appearances and a couple of hundred international caps between them, and a Champions League winners’ medal apiece – ending in just a hint of anti-climax.Halfway through the season, the decision to invite the 36-year-old Lampard to remain with Manchester City for the second half of the campaign, by deferring his commitment to New York City FC, looked like a masterstroke. But who, as City’s season deflates like a leaky balloon, will now remember his short stay in east Manchester? As for Gerrard, until a fortnight ago it looked as though he might be bowing out with an appearance in the FA Cup final at Wembley on his 35th birthday. A resurgent Aston Villa put an abrupt end to that pretty fantasy. Continue reading…