Written by Kurt West
Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are two of England’s greatest ever players, certainly in the last 20 years. Both players followed similar career paths, both having almost spent their whole career with solely one team. After both leaving their respective MLS clubs in LA Galaxy and NYCFC last week, they are now in the same boat once again, where to go next? Earlier this week I looked at Steven Gerrard’s possible destinations both on and off the field and today I’ll be looking at what the future may hold for Frank Lampard in the coming years.
Like Gerrard, Lampard joined the MLS two years ago but took a bit of a different route to that of Stevie G. He spent most of the first season on loan to owner club Manchester City. This wasn’t a particularly popular move from Lampard and initially struggled to gain the support of the NYCFC fanbase. An injury delayed his start to the season and he was even called ‘the worst signing in MLS history’ by one media outlet. The midfielder didn’t let this deter him and he fought back well from injury, eventually scoring a very good tally of 12 goals which included a hat-trick against Colarado. His time ended abruptly in the US with a 7-0 aggregate loss to Toronto in the Eastern-Conference play-off semi final.
At the age of 38, you’d assume if Lampard does choose to carry on playing then his next club will almost certainly be his last. Like Gerrard, Lampard has also been linked with a return to England with Newcastle United. Rafa Benitez looks to be looking for that experience in the Toon’s promotion push and the possibility of seeing Lampard have one more season in the Premier League, if they’re promoted, is an exciting one. However I think the likelihood of both joining the Toon is almost zero and I think if Rafa had a choice of two he’d probably pick Gerrard due to past loyalties.
Rather surprisingly, Frank has also been linked with staying in America. It has been reported that Orlando City and quite coincidently, LA Galaxy, have been in contact with Lampard to try and convince him to stay in the US for one final year. I personally don’t see any story in this one and I am almost 100% confident that he will not be extending his stay in America with either of these teams. A move down the east coast of America to Orlando would perhaps represent an easy transition but at this stage of his career, I don’t think that’s what he is particularly looking for and I would expect him to move back to England or at least Europe.
One ‘respected’ figure in the game has said he’d almost definitely sign Lampard as a player and still has time to make an impact in England, unfortunately for Frank that man is Harry Redknapp who is currently out of a job and doesn’t look to have any immediate plans to get back into management. Redknapp does make an incredibly good point and if I was Lampard, I’d certainly be looking for one more chance in the Premier League. A return to boyhood club, West Ham United would be an incredibly fascinating move and I don’t really think he’s any worse than the players in his position at the club, his experience and goals from midfield would be crucial in a team that looks set to be fighting at the wrong end of the table this season. West Ham is just one of a number of clubs Lampard would improve if he did make the move back over the rather large pond. Teams like Middlesbrough, Hull City, Stoke City and Burnley would improve massively with the addition of Lampard and as I said earlier in the article, his goals from midfield would be crucial for any side in any league.
OFF THE FIELD OPTIONS
I do think at the age of 38, that a coaching or managerial role is probably more likely for the man that got over 100 caps for England and the first option I am going to talk about, is in fact a coaching role at England. It has been whispered in the press that Southgate wants Lampard as part of his coaching team if he does get the job on a full time basis, I think if Frank does choose to hang up his boots then this may not be the best option for him to start his coaching career. We all know how much of a poison chalice England is and the potential England downfall at the next major tournaments could dent Lampard’s reputation and I don’t think working under Southgate would be a particularly big learning experience for him. At this point in his career I don’t think this would be a good option at all and he should definitely go somewhere else to learn his trade in the coaching game.
credit Paul Waite
It would be a shock for me if his first coaching role in football wasn’t at his old stomping ground, Chelsea. I think the opportunity to go and learn off one of the best coaches in world football would be too hard to turn down for Frank if he does want to hang up his boots. Conte has shown that he is one of the most tactically aware managers in the Premier League and his respect for Lampard was made clear in a recent interview before Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Middlesbrough on Sunday. He refused to comment on the rumours linking Lampard back with a move to Chelsea but did speak of him very highly, saying that he was a ‘legend’ and a hugely important part of the past success of Chelsea. Out of all the option I’ve spoke about I do think that this option is probably the most likely to happen and I think it would be a hugely exciting role for Lampard to work in, linking up with his former team such as John Terry would be an added bonus for him. That coupled with the fact that his fiance, Christine Bleakley, currently works in the UK it would seem like a very logical move for Lampard both personally and for his career after spending two years away from London.
Both Gerrard and Lampard have said they will announce their futures in the next few weeks and I am very intrigued with the option they do decide to choose for. The little boy inside me would love to see them link up in the Newcastle midfield, together for one last time but I know that’s almost living in a fantasy. If I was forced at gun point to choose I’d probably say Lampard will end up at a coaching role at Chelsea and Gerrard will end up in League One with MK Dons but with the huge amount of options on both their tables and the sheer amount of money in the footballing world, you never know what may happen.
Thank you for reading and make sure to check out my piece on Steven Gerrard earlier this week.
Where do you think Lampard will end up? What would be his best location? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by wonker