Didier Drogba has given his endorsement to Frank Lampard as he says his former team-mate is ready to manage Chelsea despite only one year of experience with Derby County.
The legendary striker lined up alongside Lampard to great success at Stamford Bridge, earning a host of honours from the Champions League to the Premier League in the most glorious era in the club’s history.
Lampard’s 211 goals mark him out as the all-time top-scorer for the club and he is tipped as the leading candidate to replace Maurizio Sarri, who is set to leave the club for Juventus in his native Italy in the near future.
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Drogba knows Lampard as well as anyone and he believes his success at Derby shows he is ready to manage the club where they both made their names.
“I think it is a very good option for the club,” Drogba said at Stamford Bridge. “He has done well with Derby, you know, taking the team to the play-off final and I think it is a very good option for the club.”
There has been discussion whether Lampard, after just one season in charge of a club, is ready for the pressure of the Chelsea job. But Drobga dismissed those concerns, believing if the former midfielder believes himself prepared, that is what matters.
“So he is never going to be ready, then? Does he have to wait until he is 40 or 50 to be ready? I think it depends on your experience and depends on your desire to succeed and do it. If he feels ready I don’t think it is too early.”
Drogba’s return to Stamford Bridge comes as he prepares to play in the high-profile Soccer Aid charity match for Unicef. His Rest of the World XI will face an English team, pitting the likes of Drogba and Essien against John Terry and Joe Cole.
Ex-Liverpool and Tottenham star Jamie Redknapp is playing in the match and is the cousin of Lampard. He thinks it would be a great decision in the circumstances of having a transfer ban to appoint the legendary midfielder, as long as they are willing to give him the time to build a team.
“If Sarri goes, which it looks like, and they were to go for Frank then it would be a great decision,” Redknapp said. “He is a hero, a God here, but whoever comes into this job next if he (Sarri) was to go then they have to be given time.
“You have lost your best player, a transfer embargo and I think the club need to state that, whatever happens, if we don’t do well, because that could theoretically happen this year if you lose your best players and you can’t buy any, then you have to be given time to build a team.
“I think with the squad they have, they could theoretically get top four, but with losing their best player, by a long way, not just a good player but the best player in probably the Premier League has left the club.
“They finished third and won the Europa League, it ended up being a really good season, but there were times when they really struggled this year, so they have to be patient. Frank is a bright guy and would be completely realistic in the situation.
“People say, is it the right time? When is the right time? This is his club, this is where he is loved, the fans idolise him and he is so bright that he will figure it out. He could be the first English manager to have been ever chosen (under Roman Abramovich).
“If they were to go with one then, and Jody Morris (his assistant at Derby) would come with him, then I think it would be a really good team. But they have got to be given time. There is no magic wand. It is not because Frank lacks experience, it will mainly be because they have lost their best players.”