Frank Lampard insists he has earned his shot at the Chelsea job after Raheem Sterling highlighted the difference in opportunities given to the Blues manager and Steven Gerrard compared to some black coaches.
Lampard was keen to stress his admiration for Sterling speaking out on racism in football and society as he responded to the Manchester City winger’s comments, and also added his voice to the calls for equal opportunities in coaching and management.
Sterling spoke to Newsnight this month about the lack of black people in ‘positions I feel they should be in’ and used the differing coaching experiences of four former England internationals — Lampard, Rangers boss Gerrard, Southend manager Sol Campbell and Chelsea youth coach Ashley Cole — to underline his point.
Ahead of Sterling’s and City’s visit to Chelsea, former Derby manager Lampard said: ‘Those opportunities have to be equal for everybody, but within that there are the details of how hard you have worked.
‘I certainly worked from the start of my career to try to get this opportunity and there are a million things along the way that knock you, set you back, you fight against.’
Responding to Sterling’s comparison, Lampard said: ‘I think Raheem got it slightly wrong from my point of view. It felt like a very casual comparison. I think it is very hard to make that comparison from the outside.
‘You can compare me, Steven, Sol Campbell, who did an incredible job at Macclesfield and the job at Southend, any of us would find very difficult to do.
‘Compare Ashley Cole who finished his career with me at Derby County last year and is working here doing a great job. He is going to be successful whatever he wants to do, so it is very hard to make that comparison from the outside.
‘The individual comparison when you don’t have the detail of each person’s pathway I felt wasn’t quite right.’
Lampard, though, was determined to praise Sterling for speaking out on racism.
‘What Raheem Sterling has spoken about in the last year or two, has been brave enough to speak about, issues which should have been broached a while before, he deserves huge credit for that,’ Lampard said.
‘You can say the same about a whole spectrum of Premier League players in terms of Marcus Rashford recently, Jordan Henderson, Troy Deeney, Mark Noble. I don’t want to leave too many out. They are making a great impression.’
Lampard also spoke about the inclusiveness at Derby, Chelsea and their two owners Mel Morris and Roman Abramovich, as well as his current club’s ongoing fight against all forms of prejudice.
But he added: ‘There is certainly an argument, and we can move more quickly, where players are getting equal opportunities when they move into management and not just players, young coaches who come into the game.
‘The FA do a lot of good work. I’ve just finished my pro-licence. It was very diverse, very open.
‘If there are any things we can do to help make sure that everybody gets equal opportunities and a pathway into management, it needs to be done and the numbers suggest there are things that need to be done.’
Reported by: Vincent Paul