In the build-up to tonight's meeting with West Ham, the Chelsea boss has been discussing the increasing number of British managers in the Premier League...
When Frank Lampard offers his hand before kick-off tonight in the traditional touchline greeting between opposing managers, it will be the 14th time he has done so this season in the Premier League and the sixth occasion it has been directed towards a fellow British manager.
While English football has long been dominated by homegrown coaches, the globalisation of the Premier League and its standing on the world stage has increasingly attracted the best managerial minds from overseas over the past 20 years. When Lampard swapped east for west London in the summer 2001, he was signed by Claudio Ranieri, then one of just three non-British managers in the division.
As things stand now, over half the current top-flight managers hail from England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, while former team-mates of Lampard’s such as Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney are cutting their coaching teeth in Scotland and the Championship respectively.
It is a trend the Chelsea head coach is pleased to see, albeit one he doesn’t place too much importance on given that competence rather than nationality should be the only barometer of suitability and success.
‘It’s nice but I don’t think it’s anything we need to madly celebrate because if you want to become a manager in the modern world, it doesn’t matter where you’re from,’ stated Lampard.
‘You just have to work as hard as you can to get the qualifications and hope that you can work and be successful to get where you want to be. The fact this is the Premier League here in England and we’re seeing British managers do very well is nice.
‘There will be a lot of hard work behind that and if that can inspire younger managers and players now who want to try and become managers in the future, then that’s a great thing as well because it’s nice to have British managers coming through and doing well. People like David Moyes and Sam Allardyce have been doing well for years and are very experienced managers.’
It was during Lampard’s first season as a player at Stamford Bridge that Moyes took charge of Everton, his maiden top-flight job after four years at Preston North End. Diligent work over 11 years on Merseyside meant the Scot was chosen to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, a role that lasted less than a year.
Subsequent spells at Real Sociedad and Sunderland also ended disappointingly, leading some observers to frame West Ham’s current good form as redemption for Moyes, though Lampard does not agree with that view.
‘There’s nothing for him to redeem,’ added the Blues boss. ‘Any manager understands, whatever club you’re at, that there are always a million factors behind the scenes and you’re just working to be positive and have success.
‘Whether it happens is always objective to everyone on the outside and as the manager you can see things differently. What he’s doing at West Ham right now is the job of a top manager.’
The ever-changing picture at the top of the Premier League continues to provide plenty of discussion as various teams join the perceived title race and then fall away just as quickly.
Weekend wins for Leicester City, Everton and Manchester United have seen them steal a march on Lampard’s side, who bring to a close this round of fixtures in eighth. However, a home victory tonight will take us back above Tottenham and into fifth so Lampard is wary of making snap judgements at this stage of the campaign.
‘We’re still pretty early and there are lots of hours to fill where people want to talk about who might be in the race or not but there’s a long way to go,’ he added. ‘The table at the top is closer, for whatever the reasons might be.
‘The level of the Premier League is always improving, clubs that maybe couldn’t invest so much in the past are investing. They have strong squads, good managers and great organisation so that’s what we’re seeing. I think it will pan out differently so I’m not sure it’s worthwhile trying to guess too much.’