Lampard may have to dip into the Championship after Everton sacking

JOE BERNSTEIN: Frank Lampard may have to dip into the Championship or go abroad to rebuild his reputation after Everton sacking… even Pep Guardiola would have struggled in the Goodison madness, so he shouldn’t be put off the job forever at just 44

  • Frank Lampard was sacked as Everton manager after just 357 days in charge 
  • The 44-year-old may have to accept his next job is outside the Premier League
  • But the pull of the dug-out will be irresistible – and his standing remains intact 

Frank Lampard didn’t have to be a football manager. Financially secure after a glittering playing career and articulate enough for media and ambassadorial work, he chose to get his hands dirty in arguably the hardest jobs in the Premier League.

If he regrets it having now been sacked by both Chelsea and Everton, it’s probably only fleeting.

Football has been in Lampard’s blood since watching dad Frank Sr play for West Ham player so it’s natural for him to want to carry on. 

Frank Lampard may have to look outside the Premier League for his next job after Everton

Everton’s 2-0 defeat at West Ham on Saturday proved the final straw as Lampard was sacked

The result leaves the Toffees second bottom in the Premier League table, with just 15 points

The big question is which club would take him now and whether he’s ready to go outside the Premier League to resurrect his career.

Lampard has been there before. He was appointed Derby County manager in 2018 aged just 39, citing the ‘pull of management’ after initially heading to the TV studio after retirement.

He made a good fist of it a Pride Park, reaching the Championship play-offs and showing his potential as a coach by developing young loanees Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori.

Long-term, it might have been better for him to continue to serve his apprenticeship in the East Midlands.

Instead his beloved Chelsea came calling in the summer of 2019 – an offer he couldn’t refuse. ‘Everyone knows the history we’ve shared,’ said Lampard who had won every major trophy for the club as a free-scoring midfielder.

Lampard proved himself successful in the Championship as Derby reached the play-off final

They lost the Wembley final to Aston Villa in 2019, but Lampard may return to the second-tier

Lampard’s appointment represented a change for owner Roman Abramovich, who had previously gone for proven managers. But with the Blues under transfer embargo, they needed someone who had a connection with the fans and could incorporate young players.

Lampard fulfilled his side of the bargain with homegrown players Mount, Reece James and Tammy Abraham progressing into the England squad.

He qualified for the Champions League in his first season and then got them through the group stages. 

But he was sacked in January 2021 before the knockout rounds had begun, with Abramovich worried about the club’s mid-table league position.

Lampard perhaps should have continued at Derby but the pull of old club Chelsea was strong

The boss was sacked in January 2021 after a season-and-a-half in the Stamford Bridge hot seat 

If Lampard had a difficulty, it was handling senior international stars whilst trying to bring the average age of the squad down.

His freezing out of Antoni Rudiger looked particularly questionable when the German became a mainstay under Lampard’s successor Thomas Tuchel as Chelsea won the Champions League.

A month after Lampard arrived at Stamford Bridge, David Luiz left for Arsenal. Would the Brazilian staying have made a difference? What’s clear is that Lampard didn’t quite get the balance right between youth and experience.

The popular former England international pledged to learn from his mistakes when he was appointed Everton manager to succeed Rafa Benitez last January.

He brought in an experienced older head Paul Clement to work alongside. Jody Morris, his long-time assistant, was not among the staff he took to Goodison Park. 

Lampard brought in coach Paul Clement to his Everton backroom staff to provide experience

The manager felt he was too close to ex-assistant Jody Morris and thus ignored his own instinct

Lampard felt their friendship meant he sometimes listened to Morris rather than go on his own instinct.

At Everton, Lampard found a traditional working-class club he recognised from his first club West Ham.

He utilised that passionate support to pull off a great relegation escape by beating Crystal Palace in their penultimate game.

This summer saw Lampard take major strategic decisions with star striker Richarlison sold to Tottenham and budgetary restrictions on who he could bring in.

Despite a natural regard for playing attractive football, Lampard decided to pin his faith in Everton being gutsy and obstinate. 

The former England star celebrates the win over Crystal Palace that secured Everton’s survival

Lampard kept Everton in the Premier League but this season was always going to be difficult 

Warhorse centre-backs Conor Coady and James Tarkowski were signed. So too forward players Dwight McNeil and Neal Maupay, more renowned for putting in a shift than changing games with a moment of magic.

History shows the policy didn’t work. With main goalscorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin rarely fully fit, Lampard regularly opted for a back-five – successful in games like a 1-1 draw at Manchester City.

But whenever he tried to be more adventurous, Everton were taken apart. The atmosphere at Goodison turned toxic after a 4-1 home defeat against Brighton. 

Though much of the ire was aimed at Farhad Moshiri and the board, it was Lampard who paid the price after a 2-0 defeat at West Ham on Saturday left them joint-bottom.

Lampard retained the support of most Everton fans, who instead blamed the club’s ownership

Fan protests against chiefs Farhad Moshiri and Bill Kenwright have intensified in recent weeks 

The pair have been criticised for their lack of direction for the club amid on-field struggles 

Like Steven Gerrard, Lampard’s personal professionalism and record of success has led to problems dealing with the modern-day player who may not be as talented.

Gerrard’s fall-out with Tyrone Mings backfired at Villa Park. Lampard tried to be more adaptable after the Rudiger situation at Stamford Bridge but one of his last acts at Goodison was to banish midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure to train on his own. Michael Keane has hardly kicked a ball for the club this season.

Whereas Lampard inspired Mount, the brightest talent on Everton’s books Anthony Gordon has not kicked on this season after being the subject of interest from Chelsea. It’s hard for wingers when their team doesn’t have the ball.

Even Manchester City’s illustrious boss Pep Guardiola would struggle to succeed at Everton

Lampard is only 44 and has too much football knowledge and drive for his managerial career to be over. 

Even Pep Guardiola would have struggled given the current circumstances at Goodison.

Even so, the former England star will have to accept the next job will have to be a place for him to learn, whether in the Championship where Michael Carrick and Vincent Kompany are successfully building their reputations, or abroad.

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