It Would Be A Backward Step Hiring Club Legend Lampard As Chelsea Coachby Andy Dillon / 18 November 2016, 19:07
IT’S DIFFICULT to imagine Antonio Conte pricking up his ears when the news broke from across the Atlantic.
Frank Lampard is quitting New York City FC and within a nanosecond he is tipped to be on his way back to his spiritual home at Chelsea.
The wonders of modern technology have created an instantaneous and worldwide spin machine that kind rev up news like never before.
So no sooner had ‘Lamps’ dropped the bombshell than he was becoming a club ambassador, a mentor for kids, even a first team coach with one eye on Conte’s own job.
Lampard belongs at Stamford Bridge, of course he does with such a glittering history and indelible links to Chelsea where he played more than 425 games and scored 211 goals.
But so far Antonio Conte has not put a foot wrong since taking over as the boss in the summer - to take in Lampard on his backroom staff would be his first and biggest mistake to date.
Chelsea are second in the Premier League, just a point behind leaders Liverpool. They have won five league games on the spin without conceding a goal.
The players are buying into his three man defence and his overall philosophy of work hard and harder still with double training sessions and super-strict diets.
He has revamped the coaching staff with an 11-strong team of positional experts, fitness gurus and man-motivators.
Doesn’t sound like someone in need of much help does he?
Of course, it’s probably not Lampard himself putting it around that he should be handed a job right at the heart of Chelsea’s renaissance but you can bet he’s not unhappy with the speculation.
But without a single coaching badge to his name and zero managerial experience, letting Lampard in through the old boys’ network would be a disaster waiting to happen.
It might look good for the fans to have ‘one of their own’ sitting in the dugout next to this Italian stranger who hops around like a demented leprechaun for 90 minutes during every match.
Even though Lampard was bought off the peg from West Ham the midfielder is regarded as true Blue for his 13 years’ service.
But that connection would merely serve as a giant historical millstone around Chelsea necks were he to sit on Conte’s shoulder at the moment.
He would offer nothing that Conte doesn’t know already. Nothing in fact except a big reputation as a Stamford Bridge legend.
Several of the current first team which whipped Everton 5-0 in their last Premier League match weren’t even at the club with Lampard.
There is a sense in modern football that to have played a certain number of games marks you out as management material, when really there needs to be a large distance between the boss and his staff to make it work.
Didier Drogba was courted by Conte’s predecessor Guus Hiddink last season when the caretaker boss wanted help and was Ryan Giggs a success as a coach at Manchester United?
It did not make Louis van Gaal’s life any easier having one of the club’s all-time greats breathing down his neck constantly? Catching the gaze of the cameras with every expression monitored and dissected by the world.
The same would be true of Conte. It’s all rosy in the garden right now but everyone knows it rains quite a lot at Chelsea making the flowers droop.
The last thing this highly accomplished, diligent, dedicated coach Conte needs is to have a ‘Giggs’ hanging around.
Lampard is 38 but could still hold his own in a player-coach role down the divisions, where he could learn the first steps along the hard road to management one day. Not now.