Chelsea legend has brought ‘the bounce’ back to Derby County as they dream of Premier League return

17 min read
0
7
Chelsea legend has brought 'the bounce' back to Derby County as they dream of Premier League return

Championship leaders Leeds take on fellow promotion chasers Derby County on Friday evening.

Jim Proudfoot will be on commentary duty alongside former Whites boss Simon Grayson for the Championship clash, which is LIVE on talkSPORT 2.

Ahead of the game at Elland Road, talkSPORT takes a look at the impact Frank Lampard has made at the Rams to date…


“I’m certainly not scared to get my hands dirty slightly lower down because that’s the reality of it, you have to prove yourself.”

Frank Lampard, who was speaking exclusively to talkSPORT last March, was certainly true to his word.

When Derby came calling for his services back in May, the Chelsea legend, who enjoyed a trophy-laden 21-year professional career, had no hesitations in taking the job.

Frank Lampard is relishing life as manager of Derby County

Lampard had an exemplary work ethic as a player – and that has transferred on to him as a manager

Lampard had an exemplary work ethic as a player – and that has transferred on to him as a manager

On paper it looked a big risk for Lampard, who had not held an official coaching role at any level up until that point after hanging up his boots in February 2017.

Lampard, a quiet and unassuming character, was also Derby’s seventh appointment in just over three years.

Former Rams boss Gary Rowett left Rams fans furious when he ditched the Championship club to take over at Stoke City in the summer.

Speculation over his wage budget being slashed resulted in Rowett walking out on Derby, having led them to the play-offs last season.

Therefore, getting the feel-good factor back among the fans was a matter of priority for Lampard.

Rowett is now out of work after a nigh on £40m spending spree at the Potters didn’t go as expected, while Lampard continues to go about his business quietly.

Lampard remains a club icon among Chelsea fans

Lampard remains a club icon among Chelsea fans

Under the 40-year-old’s stewardship, the Rams have made more money from player sales than they have in investing in the squad.

To this day he is still idolised by the Chelsea faithful, and has already built up a good rapport with Rams fans – who haven’t had much to shout about in recent years.

He regularly does ‘the bounce’ with them after games, mainly wins, on the pitch.

After Derby’s shock win at Manchester United in the Carabao Cup in September, Lampard, along with his players, strolled over to the 3,000 travelling faithful and orchestrated the bounce celebration, much to the delight of the away end.

It’s those little things that count at the end of the day.

He truly recognises the importance of the supporters and the role they can play.

Lampard, 40, regularly does ‘the bounce’ with Derby fans after games, mainly wins, on the pitch.

Lampard, 40, regularly does ‘the bounce’ with Derby fans after games, mainly wins, on the pitch.

The work ethic he has instilled into the group has been another major factor in their success so far.

Jose Mourinho and Didier Drogba often spoke about that side of him as a player, and that didn’t show any signs of falling short even towards the closing stages of his career.

His former Manchester City team-mate Pablo Zabeleta said back in December 2014: “You see him at training: he is the first to arrive on the training ground and the last to go home.

“He won everything with Chelsea, he’s a legend in football and he’s still playing like he’s 18 years old.”

So, unsurprisingly he demands hard work, after all he lives and breathes football.

While he still has properties in London, when it came to work commuting wasn’t an option long term.

Jody Morris, left, and Steve Jones, right, play a vital role at the iPro Stadium

Jody Morris, left, and Steve Jones, right, play a vital role at the iPro Stadium

He has moved up to Derby and embraced the local area and its surroundings.

The impact of his coaching staff can’t be underestimated either.

Assistant manager Jody Morris and first-team coach Chris Jones are both close allies of Lampard, having spent many years together at Chelsea.

Former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given has been another strong and important appointment.

Some fans weren’t overly enthralled with the previous manager’s style of play, so Lamps had to bring a fresh approach.

He’s come in and played a possession-based game, something which has been enjoyable to watch for Rams fans.

The need to freshen up the squad was clearly apparent too. At the back end of last season the average age of the team was 30.

That has dropped significantly, for example, it was down to 24 for the recent FA Cup tie against Southampton.

Shay Given is also playing an important role behind the scenes

Shay Given is also playing an important role behind the scenes

Lampard has spoke a lot in recent months about Derby having the oldest squad in all the leagues, thus this was a important thing to address and add much needed energy to his side.

Chelsea pair Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori both joined on season-long loans, while Harry Wilson, the Rams’ player of the season so far, made a temporary switch from Liverpool.

Lampard has also demonstrated his commitment to develop the club’s best young talent.

Academy youngster Jayden Bogle has established himself as a first-team regular, while Mason Bennett, Max Bird and Max Lowe have also featured, too.

Senior players such as Scott Carson, Andy Keogh and David Nugent have played key roles in helping the youngsters around the club.

Many wondered how Derby would recover from losing their star striker, and last season’s top scorer in the Championship, Matej Vydra, after he sealed a £11m move to Burnley in August.

Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson has proved to be an outstanding acquisition

Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson has proved to be an outstanding acquisition

Andreas Weimann also left in a £2m deal for Bristol City, too.

The £13m accumulated from those sales duly allowed him for freshen up the squad.

One of those, Jack Marriott, has proven to be a big hit in Derbyshire so far.

Marriott, 24, scored 27 times in League One for Peterborough last season and he’s continued in the same vein for Derby – already hitting double figures.

Unquestionably, football management is full of up and downs, Lampard will come to realise that.

After a last-gasp win at Reading in his first league game in charge, he was handed an early season wake-up call just eight days later when Leeds came to town.

Marcelo Bielsa’s men ensured the former England midfielder had a home debut to forget as the Whites produced a devastating attacking display to run out 4-1 winners at the iPro Stadium.

The Rams lie sixth in the Championship, four points clear of arch rivals Nottingham Forest

The Rams lie sixth in the Championship, four points clear of arch rivals Nottingham Forest

Now five months on, table toppers Leeds are on course to end their 15-year exile for the Premier League, while Lampard’s men occupying the final play-off spot in the Championship.

Speaking exclusively with talkSPORT ahead of Friday’s crunch clash, he said: “It will be a good test for us.

“They came to our place earlier in the season and won very convincingly.

“We had six new players in our team, but they had a more established squad – albeit a new manager – and fully deserved the three points.

“We’ve obviously grown as a squad and improved over the last few months.

“Leeds are top on merit, they’ve had a very good first half of the season, so it’s a massive test.”

Lampard has brought the feel-good factor back to Derby, with fans, old and young, embracing the new era

Lampard has brought the feel-good factor back to Derby, with fans, old and young, embracing the new era

He continued: “If we can win and close that gap between Leeds and Norwich that’s a great thing, but in the bigger picture, the next few months to come will be very tough for us.

“It’ll be very tough for us, not just for me but for the team, because Leeds are a very good side.”

Referring to his early days in management, he commented: “I’ve enjoyed learning every day and working very hard.

“You have individual responsibilities, so you are constantly thinking of that.


“As a player you can be selfish at times, but being a manager is a completely different ball game.

“At the end of the day I’ll be judged on performances and results, so I need to continue to deliver them.”

Few would bet against Lampard continuing to deliver them as a manager, just like he always did on the pitch as a player.




Source link

Load More Related Articles
Load More In Sports
Comments are closed.

Check Also

Tottenham’s shock striker target, James Rodriguez rejects Arsenal, Liverpool transfer update

talkSPORT.com round up all the biggest transfer news and latest football gossip from Monda…