LONDON (AFP) – Frank Lampard can be a successful manager of Chelsea due to his work ethic and ability to thrive under pressure, says close friend and fellow club legend John Terry.
Lampard – who along with Terry won a treasure trove of trophies including three Premier League titles and the 2012 Champions League – is expected to leave second tier Derby after just one season in management and become Chelsea’s new manager.
Maurizio Sarri’s departure for Juventus after one season – in which they won the Europa League and qualified for the Champions League – opened the way for Lampard’s return.
Terry told the Daily Mail it is not because of their close friendship he believes Lampard – who will become the 14th manager since Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003 – will succeed in difficult circumstances.
He believes Lampard has the right stuff to meet the challenges head on. The thorniest could be the fact that Chelsea cannot replace their star player Eden Hazard – who signed for Real Madrid – due to a transfer ban although they are appealing it.
“After the season he has had with Derby and with Chelsea’s transfer ban in place, there is no-one better equipped than Frank to succeed at Chelsea,” said Terry.
“It is perfect timing for him and the club.”
Terry, who is assistant coach at newly promoted Premier League outfit Aston Villa, said Lampard is excellent in dealing with pressure.
“Frank was under pressure to succeed at Chelsea the day he arrived from West Ham (2001) and he never hid from that,” said Terry.
“He revelled in it and went on to become Chelsea’s greatest-ever player.
“What made him that player was his desire to drain every ounce out of his body and that of everyone around him in training.
“People would be amazed at his goal return but they just didn’t realise how much dedication was put into that and his whole game.
“He is just as exacting on himself now as a manager.”
Terry said that Lampard can use the transfer ban to get the best out of the young players coming through the Chelsea academy.
Sarri was criticised for not playing talented youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi enough and appeared reluctant also to field Ruben Loftus-Cheek, despite the 23-year-old midfielder having caught the eye for England at the 2018 World Cup.
“For some time, perhaps only myself and Ruben Loftus-Cheek had come through the academy to become regulars and that has probably left many young players questioning their future,” said Terry.
“Callum Hudson-Odoi will be assured he has a big role to play at Chelsea.
“Having Frank in charge and the transfer ban will give young players throughout the academy belief that there is a genuine pathway into Chelsea’s first team.”