Content Editor at Free Super Tips, Alex was born in the shadow of Old Trafford and is an avid Man Utd fan. After graduating from university he combined his love of football, writing and betting to join FST and now closely follows goings-on in all of the top European leagues.
Our first Manager Focus of their season looks at one of the most intriguing appointments made by a club in English football for a number of years. On the 31st May 2018, promotion-chasing Derby County appointed Chelsea and England legend Frank Lampard to take the reins of the team, in what is his first managerial role at any level of football. It is hard to predict how he will do, however we will look at his playing career, his influences and transition into managership, as well as why he suits Derby County, to work out how he may do ahead of his first game at Reading tonight.
Lampard illustrious career
Played for: West Ham United, Swansea City (on loan), Chelsea, Manchester City, New York City
Frank Lampard first arrived on the scene at West Ham, alongside fellow future legends like Rio Ferdinand, and performed well at the club over six seasons, scoring 39 times in 187 appearances across all competitions. However, it was when Lampard moved to Chelsea for £11m in 2001 that his path to becoming a prominent member of the English “Golden Generation” began. It was a group of players that led the top English teams, from Steven Gerrard at Liverpool to Scholes and Neville at Manchester United, to domestic and European dominance from 2005 onwards. Lampard won 11 major honours with Chelsea, including the Champions League in 2011/12, and became their record goal-scorer, with an incredible 211 goals in 648 appearances.
Although, his international career never reached the heights it could have done, as was the case for much of the “Golden Generation”. Despite winning 106 caps and scoring 29 goals, his England career is perhaps best known for the “ghost goal” against Germany in the 2010 World Cup, when his shot went over the line but was not given by the referee. It must hold some disappointment for Lampard but he was ever-present for England and his respectable record should be looked back on with more fondness in time.
Lampard was the ultimate box-to-box midfielder, with trademark late runs into the box to smash in a cross from wide-man, in addition to helping the team play out from the back. He had a fantastic eye for goal and his set-piece delivery, particularly with free-kicks and penalties meant that you were always confident he would score in a game. On top of that, he was a leader on and off the pitch, captaining both Chelsea and England at times.
Route into management and influences
With that sense of leadership, it seemed natural for Lampard to progress into a managerial career. Indeed, he said so himself, that when he started to reach his 30s, he began to plan life after playing and look for a way into management. He obtained his coaching badges after retirement from football in 2017 and after showing up at a few Chelsea academy team training sessions, it only appeared a matter of when, not if, he would be hired by a club.
The most interesting aspect of the Lampard appointment will be how he sets his teams up to play. Whilst in his 30s, Lampard stated that he began to learn from his managers in a much more intense fashion, in order to apply what he thought were the best aspects about their style. Thus, I think the Lampard style of play will be most inspired by Jose Mourinho, the manager who coached him over two spells and was clearly the one who influenced Frank the most in terms of development. This means that the team will be set-up solidly, which an emphasis on an intense work ethic and counter-attacking football.
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Indeed, Lampard has suggested this will be the case, saying that he will transfer his hard work ethic across to this Derby team, whilst he also wants them to play fast, pacey, aggressive football to match the guile of the side. Although, I think Lampard will also infuse the man-management style of coaches like Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti, who were able to get the best out of Lampard and Chelsea through maintaining a close relationship with the players. Whilst Mourinho was fantastic at it in the first spell at Chelsea, his ruthlessness might not suit Lampard, especially if results start to go against him.
Is Frank Lampard a good fit for Derby County?
However, I think Lampard represents a really good fit for Derby. Primarily, because the last manager Gary Rowett had wanted the same things from his team as Lampard does from his, predominately a strong work-ethic. Rowett’s team worked incredibly hard on and off the ball last season and Lampard can come in and continue that trend, whilst also enhancing the attacking style of play. It also means the current squad will be well-suited to Lampard’s ideas, particularly hard-working midfielders like Tom Huddlestone and Joe Ledley.
In addition, the transfers made by the club appear to be aimed at the enhancement of the pacey and aggressive side of Lampard’s vision. Promising young attackers Mason Mount and Harry Wilson have arrived on loan from Chelsea and Liverpool and, with new winger Florian Jozefzoon, will most likely be tasked with providing the speed and creativity for the counter-attacking play Lampard wants. In addition, striker Jack Marriott will look to tap in the chances created by the new attackers to replicate his sparkling form for Peterborough. The most recent signing, defensive midfielder George Evans, looks perfectly suited to fit in with the work-ethic Lampard wants.
Overall then, Lampard has come into a team that will not need a massive overhaul in the way the play, whilst they have had a good transfer window to acquire the players that can aid the creative side of how Lampard wants to play. That is why I expect Derby to be around the promotion places this season, and could even be dark horses to go up automatically.
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