After years winning trophies as team-mates, Frank Lampard and John Terry will be in opposing dugouts at Stamford Bridge as part of the Chelsea and Aston Villa coaching teams on Wednesday night. That makes it the perfect time to brush up on your knowledge of the legendary Blues duo with these five lesser known facts.
Many of the most successful teams in Chelsea’s history had one thing in common, a strong spine with Terry at the heart of our defence and Lampard pulling the strings ahead of him in midfield. However, they could actually have been midfield partners, as when JT first signed for the Blues as a 14-year-old it was as a promising central midfielder, only moving into his now familiar centre-back role due to a shortage of defenders for a reserve game a couple of years later. Their combined talents playing together in midfield is certainly an interesting thought, although a less pleasant one is that maybe if we had a young Terry in that position in 2001, Chelsea wouldn’t have been on the look-out for another midfielder like Lampard in the first place!
Terry and Lampard will always be remembered for their incredible achievements at Chelsea, but both their footballing stories actually started on the other side of London, with West Ham United. Lampard came through their youth ranks and spent six years in their first team after making his debut in January 1996, but what is less known is that Terry trained for the Irons’ junior teams as well as Chelsea's, albeit a few years younger. However, the defender opted for capital’s west over east when he joined Chelsea before Lampard made his first senior appearance at the Boleyn Ground.
Club and country
Lamps and JT didn’t just form the core of the Chelsea side for the best part of two decades, they were also key players for the England national team. The pair earned 184 caps between them, and that number would have been even higher if it wasn’t for Terry’s relatively early retirement from the international game. They also played alongside each other at three major tournaments, being deprived a fourth by the injury which kept Lampard out of Euro 2012. Their performances for their country were recognised when both were named in competition all-star teams, but not at the same tournament, with Terry selected at the 2006 World Cup, two years after Lampard was chosen at Euro 2004.
Best of British
Having played together for so many years, Terry and Lampard knew each other’s games inside out. Combined with the fact they were often the homegrown English core to a squad packed with some of the best foreign talent around, it is no surprise they usually chose to pair up against their team-mates in competitive training drills. They even had their own patriotic nickname, meaning it was not unusual to hear celebratory shouts of ‘Team Bulldog’ drifting across the Cobham pitches following their victories.
Friend or foe
Before this week’s game, Lampard and Terry had come up against each other in their coaching careers three times, all in the Championship last season as Villa beat Derby in the play-off final. That is the same number of times as they were on opposing sides in their playing careers. The most familiar of those are the pair of 1-1 draws between Chelsea and Manchester City in 2014/15, during Lampard’s one campaign at the Etihad Stadium, with the midfielder actually getting on the scoresheet in the first. However, they also briefly faced each other back in March 2001, as a young Terry came off the bench for Chelsea to replace Graeme Le Saux for the last few minutes of our 2-0 win away to Lampard’s West Ham. Another future Blues stalwart Joe Cole was also in the Hammers line-up that day.