With Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and the Europa League titles under his belt, Frank Lampard has now set his eyes on the Championship silverware.
The former Chelsea midfielder has signed a three-year contract with Derby County in his first ever job as a manager.
The inclusion of Lampard in the bookies’ odds seemed to be nothing more than a gap filler at first but, after just a week, the appointment could make much more sense than some may think.
Trial and error
No stranger to managers coming and going as a player at Chelsea, Lampard becomes the seventh man to take charge of Derby in the last three seasons.
And, for a lot of those appointments, it has often been a case of trial and error. Derby have tried numerous approaches: an attack minded manager; one with a defensive head; one with promotion experience; one with international experience; an academy manager with club connections; a former player with club connections. But for one reason or another, a similar outcome has always occurred.
Lampard may be the latest ‘trial’ in Derby’s never-ending ‘trial and error’ to achieve promotion to the Premier League.
The loan hub
Chelsea undoubtedly possess one of the greatest youth sides in world football. Their youth team have won the FA Youth Cup four years consecutively. At the heart of a lot of this success is Jody Morris, who will look to work with Lampard at Derby County as assistant manager.
The influence the two of these could have on the young prospects at Chelsea making the loan move to Derby could be a real difference maker at Pride Park.
It is no secret that Derby have one of the oldest squads in the Championship, so a fresh youthful boost would be embraced by all at Derby.
There is no doubt that a lot of these youth players will be hoping to play for Chelsea or any of the other Premier League powerhouses in the future. But, for sure, every single one of them would love the chance to prove themselves and play a full 90 minutes of football, albeit with the Rams.
No spend, no signings?
Owner, Mel Morris, has alluded that this season the Rams won’t be spending big as they have done in previous seasons. Many believe that there will be a clearout of players to make way for the Derby Academy players that have impressed last season.
Lampard will be looking to tap into Derby’s academy which has gifted them some quality players in the past. Max Lowe had an impressive season as he reached the League 1 Play-off final with Shrewsbury Town. Timi Max Elsnik also had an impressive loan spell at League 2 side Swindon Town before returning to recover from an unfortunate injury, whilst Mason Bennett, Jamie Hanson, and Luke Thomas featured in Derby’s first team this season.
Loan players from Chelsea, as well as the ‘of our own’ Derby youth prospects could be the exciting new breath of fresh air the club need.
It remains to be seen whether the gamble will pay off or not, but one thing that has certainly paid dividends is the excitement, anticipation and enthusiasm the appointment has reinstalled into everyone involved with Derby County.