There is plenty former Chelsea star defender Ashley Cole knows about his previous team-mate and now his manager, Frank Lampard, and there is much he knows too about being a junior England international beginning to make his name in the club game.
Ashley Cole has recorded a special interview with Chelsea TV which can be viewed above, and ahead of Derby County’s play-off match against Aston Villa for a place in the Premier League next season, he has also spoken about the man at the helm of the Rams, with whom he shared Premier League and Champions League triumphs while a Blue, and about two of his young team-mates in the Derby side – Chelsea loan players Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori.
Cole on Lampard
‘Frank has done a great job. People say it’s easy to come into a job like this instead of a lower league team, but this was a tough job and there was a lot of pressure on him to get the team up.
‘His training is hard, it’s intense. He’s got a brand of football and Derby has an identity now. It’s Frank’s way of playing out from the back, midfielders running in behind, so it’s good to watch. I just hope for him we can go up.’
Cole on Mount and Tomori
‘It’s their attitudes that stand out. You see a lot of young players who have not made it, not playing with the first team, and they are a little bit big-time. But these kids have got good heads on their shoulders, they want to learn. They want to listen, they train hard and want to improve every day and that’s what you want.
‘I think Chelsea has definitely installed that in them. They’ve come out on loan and Chelsea have said it’s down to you to prove yourself. For me, both of them have proved themselves and they are definitely good enough to be in the Chelsea squad.
‘We could be asking for another five years “are they good enough?”, but until you play them no-one will ever know. Maybe they will excel when put in that position to play five games in a row for Chelsea. That is the only way they will improve.’
Meanwhile, in terms of importance of a one-off fixture, Lampard himself has likened today’s game, which kicks off at 3pm to Wembley, to Chelsea’s famous last game of the season back in 2003 when we went head to head with Liverpool for a place in the following season’s Champions League.
‘If I can match it to something it will be the Chelsea game we played a long time ago just before Roman Abramovich came to the club,’ he said.
‘We had a game against Liverpool to make it to the Champions League. If we lost that game the club was in real trouble, and if we won then things would change. Although we didn't quite know how well they would change.
‘There was tension before that game among the players but I don't feel that here. It's a crucial game for the club but what I've tried to do is take that away from the players. I just want them to think about a football match. The lads don't need to think about £170million, they don't need to think about next year or their holidays. They just need to think about Monday.’