Frank Lampard has many qualities. He’s a very dedicated person, who loves football and has total respect for his team-mates and managers. He is always ambitious.
But somewhere in my mind I have a feeling the Chelsea job could have come too soon for him.
We saw what he brought to Derby County, leading them to the playoffs, but that wasn’t the end of the story for them and they ended up failing to earn promotion. He’ll face increased expectation at Chelsea, and he knows this, having played for the club for so long.
He has only just become a manager and needs more experience – with all due respect to Derby, it’s not the same managing them as Chelsea. The environment changes every time you go from one club to another. It’s a huge step for him, and you can’t manage the lives of the players at Stamford Bridge in the same way you can at Derby.
I haven’t yet seen what his vision is as a manager. His Derby team were well organised and worked together, but tactically I want to see specific things from him in the dugout.
Added to that, he’s arriving at Chelsea at a bad time because he may not have money to spend and Eden Hazard has already left the club. It could be a tough season for him.
Frank will be respected because of his past initially – but modern players will always question their manager. They judge their managers all the time. They try to challenge your authority constantly and to question your vision on the pitch. The fact Lampard was a huge figure for Chelsea gives him the power to stand eye-to-eye with his players, who’ll respect him because of his past.
After a while, they will begin to question his management: your team selection, your tactics, your training methods. We’ve seen what happened to Thierry Henry at Monaco and the same thing could happen to Frank.
Lampard is a manager now and his decisions will have an impact on his players. The fans will get a huge boost from him being there – he’s a club legend – but if results don’t stand up even the supporters will challenge him. That could happen very quickly.
Our time together in Chelsea’s midfield
While we were at Chelsea together, he worked so hard on a daily basis and he was constantly trying to improve himself. He was born to compete on the pitch and hates to lose games – but has a great temperament and great courage.
When I played alongside him, he was a young box-to-box midfielder while I was at the end of my career. My role was to play deeper as a holding midfielder, and our partnership was very open and clear.
Most of the time, Frank supported the attacks and I protected his back. He was always honest on the pitch with me. We didn’t have to speak a lot during matches, because we talked the same football. When you play with someone you can trust every time they enter the pitch, you know this is the first step to building a team. Nowadays, most footballers are focused on their own statistics, but first and foremost Frank tried to carry out his responsibilities.
The fact he played in midfield gives him a chance as a manager as playing there means you have good vision.