In spite of how this season may end, the 2018/19 campaign has been a good one for Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. Lampard and Gerrard have both taken brave steps into big management jobs, and both of them have been relatively successful. Nobody can argue that the two English giants have acquitted themselves remarkably and shown managerial talent. Additionally, it would be hard to bet against both men having big careers in management.
As a player, Frank Lampard enjoyed a storied career. He started his career at West Ham United, but soon transferred to Chelsea. Lampard played at Chelsea for 13 seasons, in over 600 games and became the club’s record goalscorer. Lampard played 106 matches for the England, and rounded off his career by starring in comparatively short stints at Manchester City and New York City FC.
Meanwhile, Rangers manager Steven Gerrard played over 700 games for Liverpool over an astonishing 16 season spell. Gerrard also played 114 times for England and captained his national team in 38 matches. Gerrard rounded off his career with a two-season stint at LA Galaxy.
At Derby, Lampard has blended the youthful talents of Mason Mount, Harry Wilson and Jayden Bogle with the experience of Curtis Davies, Scott Carson and Ashley Cole. Lampard’s well-balanced team is valiantly fighting for a playoff place in the nip and tuck division that is the Championship. Despite a slip in form in recent weeks, the Rams still look well placed to fight for promotion.
Meanwhile, Gerrard has continued the revival of Rangers. The Gers are second in the league and are firmly inside the Europa League qualification places. Rangers have enjoyed long runs in the domestic cup competitions and in the Europa League where they punched above their weight to earn some good results. They even challenged for the league title for a time, though it now looks like their Old Firm rivals Celtic will lift the trophy. Perhaps the highlight of Gerrard’s tenure has been the blistering form of Alfredo Morelos; no doubt the 38-year-old has inspired the Colombian striker.
As managers, Lampard and Gerrard’s first season results are so impressive in my mind because few quality players have become good top-level managers in recent times. Gary Neville’s poor stint at Valencia and Tony Adams ill-fated stint at Granada are two examples that show how defective British greats have been as managers recently. When Lampard and Gerrard were appointed in their respective roles, excitement was marred by some fear that inept managerial careers would damage another couple of soccer legends.
More than anything though, I like how Lampard and Gerrard conduct themselves. Both men have class when class is needed and passion when passion is required. I love the fact that neither men carry an ego, and they don’t rely on their resumes to buy them special favors or treatment. They are thoroughly entertaining young managers and good examples for fans and sportsman alike. From this year’s results, it can be said that both men will have long managerial careers. I certainly hope they do; it would be brilliant for the British game and for the players who dream of emulating them.
Both Lampard and Gerrard have backed up playing success with promising starts to their management tenures. It will be interesting to see how their careers develop in the coming years. I hope that we will see the two men square off in a Premier League match one day. In the meantime, it is enjoyable to watch a pair of soccer icons perform well as managers; it certainly is a departure from the norm.