Frank Lampard was sacked as Chelsea manager exactly one year ago today, but 12 months on, he has yet to take on another role, while some of his old England colleagues are seeing their stock shoot up
Having impressed in his maiden season as Derby County boss, Lampard took the plunge by stepping up to manage his beloved Blues.
And it all started so well. Having navigated Chelsea through the unfamiliar waters of a transfer embargo, the former England international ended his first season with an FA Cup final appearance and a spot in the top four.
But when the money came, so did the pressure and just over halfway through his second campaign in charge Roman Abramovich made the decision to dispense with his services.
“Despite the extraordinary challenges of an unprecedented pandemic over the past 12 months resulting in a compressed fixture schedule, Frank has proven himself to be a very talented Premier League manager,” Richard Bevan said.
“He has laid the foundations for the future, whilst also protecting his players and staff’s wellbeing on and off the pitch.
“His legacy at Chelsea has been enhanced even further and he has a long and exciting future in the game ahead of him.”
But exactly one year on from his sacking, Lampard remains out of the game, having passed up or been passed over for a number of vacancies.
Like a 2022 version of Alan Curbishley, whenever a manager loses their job, Lampard is usually installed as one of the frontrunners.
That was the case at Norwich, where he reportedly turned down the chance to succeed Daniel Farke, Aston Villa – where he ultimately lost out to his old foe Steven Gerrard – and now with Everton.
But up to this point, Lampard is keeping his powder dry and despite being keen to return to the dugout, he is willing to wait for the right opportunity
“I want to work. I’m ready to work,” he told Gary Neville on his Overlap YouTube channel. “I’ve enjoyed different aspects of being out of the game. It’s definitely given me different perspectives, having a baby and given me a lot of reflection to plan for the future.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
“I’m definitely ready to work and I’m excited about it and I’m waiting for the call.”
He added: “I’ve been speaking to a couple of clubs at different times. Some didn’t feel right for me. I’m not going to go into that because it’s gone now.
“I don’t want to sound overly selective, either, because if you want to be selective at football and look at any job that’s available, there will be good and bad about it.
“The job is there for a reason. It’s open for a reason – bad results, squad, whatever it is.
“I’m not scared about that. But the people you work with – it sounds a little bit cringey but what they want, the vision, the expectations – all those things.”
But while Lampard has been waiting for the call, his old England teammates have arguably moved ahead of him in the list of the ‘Golden Generation’ now trying their hand at management.
Gerrard’s success at Rangers meant when Villa had the opportunity to recruit a new manager – he was the first on their list.
And he’s enjoyed a positive start in the west Midlands, with many believing it is only a matter of time before he returns to Anfield permanently.
Speaking of emotional returns, Wayne Rooney’s heroics with Lampard’s old club Derby County are helping to dispel the notion that he wasn’t made of the right stuff to lead a team, and could yet see him move back to Everton.
In a situation almost incomparable to any other in the country, Rooney has a rag-tag team of youngsters and free transfers playing beyond the sum of their parts, battling against what looks almost certain relegation.
Lampard and Rooney could in-fact go head-to-head for jobs in the coming months – even if they are both overlooked for the Toffees job.
At 43, Lampard is still a youngster in terms of management and has plenty of time to realise his potential in the role. But for now, that exciting future is temporarily on hold.