At the time of writing, Frank Lampard guiding Chelsea into fourth place in the Premier League table was arguably beyond most people’s estimation.
A young manager having his first crack at the English top flight, with a transfer ban hanging over him and the pressure of returning to the club where he became a household name… all could’ve contributed to a disastrous season, but to Lampard’s credit, he’s passed the test with flying colours so far.
All of the hallmarks that made him a great player, have come to the fore in his managerial stint at Stamford Bridge. His appreciation of the game in all areas, the experience to impart to his players so they make their moves at the right time, the confidence to bring in young players and allow them to spread their wings.
Each decision he appears to have made to this point has been spot on.
Moving forward, however, he wants to keep improving and not just settle for what Chelsea have at this moment. That includes bringing more players through, and there’s one name in particular that keeps impressing at the Academy.
“I don’t want us to be a development team, where people talk about our Academy players coming through. I want us to be a team that’s looking to bridge the gap going upwards,” he told the official Chelsea magazine, with details of the interview reprinted on the official Chelsea website.
“It was always going to be a priority [to establish a pathway from the academy to the senior team] and the relationships were already there.
“Joe [Edwards] and Jody [Morris] knew all the players, I knew the more prominent ones, and we all knew Neil Bath and Jim Fraser [from the Academy] well. It just had to be reconnected because it hadn’t been as connected in recent years.
“I wanted to know all the players, the names of the ones who were training well and deserved a chance. It’s easy to pluck a Billy Gilmour, but it’s also a case of hearing that, say, Henry Lawrence is training well – then get him over, get him training with us.
“All those little details are important and it’s brilliant, it’s what it’s all about – it shouldn’t be any other way.
“I’m certainly excited about the squad we’ve got, with the young players and if we can get a few additions for areas I feel we need.”
With a decent mixture of youth and experience, pace and power, Lampard is beginning to mould a team in his image, and one that is already winning the plaudits.
If the Blues are able to get a little more consistency to their results, then there’s no reason why they can’t improve on what has already been a successful first season at the Bridge for Lampard.