Frank Lampard – where next?

It is a year since Frank Lampard woke to the trill of a text message and knew his time was up.

Chelsea had eased beyond Luton Town of the Championship the day before, courtesy of a Tammy Abraham hat-trick, to secure passage into the fifth round of the FA Cup, a welcome victory for a team who had been striving for rhythm and confidence. It had felt like an afternoon of relative progress, and yet there was to be no reprieve. The die had been cast.

The early morning alarm call was from the chairman, Bruce Buck, asking him politely to “move training and come and meet us in the boardroom” at Stamford Bridge. Within a few hours, having spoken with Buck and Marina Granovskaia at the stadium, Chelsea’s record goalscorer from his glittering playing days and head coach of 18 months had been relieved of his duties.

A year has passed and football still awaits Lampard’s return to the dugout. There have been opportunities to take up a new role in the period since, albeit perhaps not as many as the constant links afforded such a high-profile name would suggest. A figure who admits to being cautious — he has described himself as an “overthinker” — continues to bide his time as the vacancies come and go, apparently reluctant to take the plunge. Some of the clubs with whom he has held more formal talks have perhaps sensed that underlying trepidation and, translating it as a lack of enthusiasm, picked holes in his approach and pursued other options. Some will simply have been unimpressed.

He would argue that, for all his desire to return to work, the suitors who have come his way have yet to get his juices flowing. He is looking for the right environment in which to thrive.

As a result, the wait goes on.

Those close to Lampard suggest there is no sense of panic welling up at this prolonged period out of the game.


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