“He will go right to the very top.”
That was the famous prediction Harry Redknapp made in support of his nephew when a disgruntled West Ham fan told him Frank Lampard was not as good as former Hammers Scott Canham or Matt Holland, back in 1996. Well, as it turns out, Uncle Harry knew best.
The Chelsea legend’s tally of 177 Premier League goals makes him the fifth highest goalscorer in the competition’s history. Your average striker would look back at that total and be more than happy with their career’s work. So as a midfielder – the only one to feature in the top 15 of that list – Lampard must be more than delighted with how well things went.
Goalscoring midfielders are a luxury, but there are more around now than ever before, and that is thanks in no small part to Lampard’s sheer brilliance.
Oscar expressed how excited he was to play with Lampard to the Evening Standard back in 2012, saying: “I used to watch a lot of English football in Brazil because a lot of the games are on television. I always thought about coming to England and it is a dream to actually be here now. I always idolised Lampard so it is great to be in the same team as him.”
The Brazilian didn’t do too much to disappoint during his time at Stamford Bridge either, winning four major trophies at the club, including two Premier League titles and a Europa League.
Though he left in a financially-motivated move to Shanghai SIPG in 2016, Oscar still has a place in Chelsea fans’ hearts, and is respected by his midfield idol.
The Icelandic international adored Lampard’s ability to score goals growing up.
“Beckham and Frank Lampard were the ones that I particularly liked watching, and with Lampard scoring so many goals from midfield it was hard not to look up to him”, said Sigurðsson in an interview with FIFA.com.
Sigurðsson has developed into a solid goalscoring midfielder himself, scoring 61 times so far in the Premier League.
Although he has never quite got to the level Lampard reached, we can clearly see that he learnt a little bit from his idol, particularly when it comes to striking one from long-range.
Hakim Ziyech is now part of Lampard’s new project at Chelsea, and he’s not been shy about his influences.
“When I was young, the players that played here, it was always a big club so I am very happy and it means a lot. I was playing in the youth in Heerenveen and here was playing Drogba, Lampard, Terry, all those big names. We were always for Chelsea, and if you look at now, if you can play here it means a lot to me.”
Now of course, he has to say that, and we know that he admires other stars as well – including Mesut Ozil of Arsenal. However, Lampard’s influence undoubtedly played a huge part in Ziyech choosing Chelsea.
The Moroccan is a perfect fit for the way Lampard wants to play. A player who plays with his head, uses space well and ultimately, creates – perhaps it’ll be a match made in heaven.
Chelsea fans hoped Sancho might choose to move to Stamford Bridge when he revealed how much he loved Lampard and Didier Drogba in 2019.
In an interview with The Independent, the 20-year-old said: “Ronaldinho was the main guy I used to watch on YouTube. But I liked Frank Lampard quite a lot and Didier Drogba when they were playing for Chelsea”.
Sancho operates more as a winger for Borussia Dortmund. However, the young Englishman looks set to be a solid goalscorer, as his stats proved last season, netting 17 times in the Bundesliga.
If any player’s going to benefit from Lampard’s teaching, it is Mason Mount, who has been an admirer of his manager since he can remember.
“When we were Under-12s to Under-14s, we had to pick a player to look at and try to take stuff from his game. Frank was the player I chose. We had to write a report. We always had to write about the games we played and the training.
“But you could choose any player, it didn’t have to be a Chelsea player. The coaches would say, ‘look at this part of his game, look at the defensive part, look at the attacking part, see how he makes it into the box, how he scores goals, how he makes assists. So I’d look at his games and his performances and try to take stuff that I thought could help my game,” Mount told the Sun.
He’s not the finished article just yet, but Mount is showing signs that he could be a reincarnated version of his boss at the Bridge, and Chelsea fans absolutely love him already.