Monday 24 June 2019

TV role wasn't for Lampard - now he's set for his first test as a manager

Derby County manager Frank Lampard. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough
Derby County manager Frank Lampard. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough

John Percy

Frank Lampard is reflecting on the wild world of football management and how his life has changed so dramatically from the comfort zone of TV punditry.

He has been in close contact with former England team-mate Steven Gerrard this week, as the two managerial novices take their first steps into an unforgiving, cut-throat industry.

Lampard could have easily been preparing for another season in the studio pontificating about other people's problems, but there was something missing in his life after retirement from playing 18 months ago. The adrenalin rush he experienced as a player over two decades will return today, when he takes charge of his first game as Derby County manager at Reading.

"When you've been competitive for a long time as a player you miss the bug," he says. "It was something I had to do and I couldn't settle for that easy life when there was an opportunity to come and do this.

"Myself and Steven were texting back and forth on Tuesday discussing the mad life of management. We are both the same, we are enjoying every minute of it. It's strange and you can't switch off because you want to do so well.


"Television work is comfortable, there is pressure because you want to do the job as best as you can, but when you've been competitive for a long time as a player, you miss it."

As two iconic figures of the Premier League era, the spotlight will inevitably shine bright on Lampard and Rangers manager Gerrard as they begin this latest chapter of their careers.

Lampard won 11 major trophies at Chelsea and played 106 times for England before his retirement in February last year. Now 40, he is the seventh Derby manager in just over three years.

He is currently taking his pro-licence - a mandatory qualification for any manager hoping to work in the Premier League - and, after the success of Gareth Southgate at the World Cup, Lampard admits he feels a sense of duty to succeed.

"There's been a lack of young English managers in recent years, we seem to have been keener on taking on younger managers from Europe rather than trusting our own," he says.

"I do think there's a desire to see English managers come through. We had a group who were the first era to work under a real cosmopolitan group of managers from all over the world.

"But I would ask that people don't get excited and [don't let] expectations rise about English managers, as people can be very quick to knock you." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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