Gerrard and Lampard - Old guard on the pitch, new guard in the dressing room
At the start of the 2018-19 season, two of the Premier League era's most prolific midfielders had attained their coaching badges and decided to plunge themselves into the world of management.
Steven Gerrard has been at the helm of the Ibrox residents, the Scottish giants Rangers. The Glasgow club, who are now back challenging at the top of Scottish football, was looking for a manager to progress their position further.
Meanwhile, his England counterpart Frank Lampard was charged with overseeing Derby County’s charge to the Premier League, a responsibility with pressure from the start. no doubt, given that they reached the Championship play-off final last year.
Liverpool to Glasgow
All along, may had said it was a smart move by Steven Gerrard. Realistically, all he had to do was better the previous year’s European venture, and hope to beat Celtic, and the year would be considered a success.
Gerrard’s start to managerial life wasn’t a bad one. But it needs to be noted that the task of bettering Pedro Caixinha’s short stint in Europe at the helm of Rangers was certainly not a hard one. Rangers were embarrassingly put out of the competition at the very first hurdle.
Stevie G’s men not only flew past all qualifying opponents but held their own in the group stages of the Europa League, drawing home and away to Villareal, their group winners, who are a top Spanish side with plenty of European pedigree, despite their average showing in La Liga this year.
That came along with a 3-1 win at home to Rapid Vienna, who was 2nd in the group. These results helped to show that under the influence of Gerrard, Rangers are not only back in European competition, but ready to be competitors yet again.
Domestic life also started well under Gerrard’s watch, winning 9 of their first 14 matches. They fell to defeat at Parkhead, but only by a 1-0 scoreline, which is a lot more flattering than the previous year’s results against their city rivals.
Rangers are now on course to finish second in the Scottish Premier League, one place higher than last year, and with a greater points tally. Their domestic campaign has also been a successful one.
All in all, life in Glasgow has been rather good for Gerrard. He has certainly progressed the Glaswegian side since his appointment, and it is not preposterous to believe that he will build on this in the upcoming years. Certainly, stopping Celtic from reaching ten consecutive premiership titles would see him etch his name into the memory of every Rangers fan alive.
Bright Lights Of The Championship
Frank Lampard has started his managerial career with an appointment in the hot seat at Derby County. He will have known while coming into the job that there was a high expectation on his side due to last season’s place in the Championship play-off final, where they were beaten by Fulham.
Indeed Lampard will be hoping that at the end of the season, he will be going in opposite directions than his former rivals at the end of the season. Promotion to the Premier League would certainly be deemed a major achievement in only his first year in charge of a team.
The season started off slightly patchy for the Rams, with 4 wins and 3 defeats in their first 7 games. Indeed, their form for the majority of the season has been a bit on and off. They have found themselves in and around the play-off spots for the duration of the season, however, have found it hard to solidify their position.
Lampard almost looked like threatening a decent Cup run, they put Premier League side Southampton out, before beating League One opposition Accrington Stanley to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup.
However, they were undone by Brighton, a team that they would have definitely fancied a chance against, seeing as the Seagulls were being sucked into a relegation battle in the Premier League.
The outlook on Frank Lampard’s first outing as a manager is looking positive at the minute, however, it all depends on the rest of the season. There are only two points between Derby County and Bristol City who currently occupy the final playoff spot, with 5 games to play, but what makes it even more interesting is that they play each other at Ashton Gate on 27th April, a game to garner great interest, and sure to have a hand in deciding if Derby County’s season ends a fruitless one.
If Lampard can guide his team to playoff football, and possibly even the golden chalice that is lucrative Premier League football, it will surely be deemed a successful season as the first time in charge of a team within an extremely difficult league.
Although if there are shortcomings, and Derby are left residing in the Championship, it would be hard to say that Lampard has done a bad job.
As previously stated, the Championship is a very hard league to get out of, and on a personal level, for his first year in management, he has at least held his own.
The season is very much in Frank Lampard's hands, but either way, whatever the rest of the results, we have a lot more to see from the ex-Chelsea midfielder in the years to come.
Derby County’s remaining 5 games;
Birmingham City (A)
Bristol City (A)
Swansea City (A)
West Brom (H)