Steven Gerrard Or Frank Lampard: The Never-Ending Debate Turns Managerial

On Saturday lunchtime, the England duo meet as managers for the first time
19:00, 12 Aug 2022

It was the argument that tarnished England’s Golden Generation for a decade. It should have been the stuff of fantasy but instead turned into an entire nation’s utter obsession. Could Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard play together in the same midfield? More importantly for the Three Lions, should they? 

The power of both players and England’s dedication to the 4-4-2 meant that first Paul Scholes was shifted out to the left, which forced him into retirement, before eventually Gerrard himself would play from the wing. For Sven Goran-Eriksson, Steve McLaren and Fabio Capello, it was an unsolvable dilemma. For England’s fans, it would prove to be summer after summer of frustration. Or in the case of 2008, utter boredom. 

Now things are far brighter for the national side under Gareth Southgate, but the Gerrard or Lampard debate still rages on. This time, ahead of their first Premier League meeting, the battle has gone from the pitch to the dugouts. Fans of both Aston Villa and Everton have both been vehemently behind their current bosses, which only inflames the debate amongst the footballing community. 


As players they were inspirational leaders of their side that could influence any game with an important goal, so it isn’t a surprise to see the duo make the step up into management. However, their managerial careers have taken different paths to date. Frank Lampard jumped in with a Derby side knocking on the door of the Premier League and helped them to a second successive top six finish, which heartbreakingly ended with defeat at Wembley. 

He was then given the Chelsea job, a gig he still believes came at the right time for him, even though he was only a year into his career on the touchline. The Blues, under a transfer ban, changed for the better under Lampard as Reece James, Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham were given gametime. The former two are now key players at the club, and Lampard played a huge role in their development. 

The summer spending spree of 2020 backfired for Lamps and he was sacked with the club in ninth in January 2021, but Everton have given him a chance to rebuild. He helped stave off relegation last term, but he is yet to improve a team in terms of positional finish in the league, a jibe that critics still use against him. This is why this season is so important for the British boss, who has to improve Everton or face the consequences.

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You can see why the comparisons have continued as the parallels between Gerrard and Lampard are clear. Just 24 hours after Lampard took the job at Derby, Gerrard rocked up at Ibrox. The difference is that he spent over three years north of the border, spending countless hours driving from his home on Merseyside to Glasgow, as Clive Tyldesley told The Sportsman. 

“The number of times that I would talk to him on a Saturday morning, to get some team news, and he would be on the M74,” the commentator said. :”He would have gone home after training, on Friday in Glasgow, back to Merseyside just to see Alex and the kids, and Saturday morning driving himself, not a driver - he drove himself back to be there at lunchtime when the players met for a game. These guys are very, very lucky, I'm very, very lucky, but their family lives are naturally disrupted by football. The ones who still value their family life like Steven Gerrard, if they get an opportunity to move closer to home, to be able to get home every night, pretty much from training, then that is going to be a big sway in their decision. The only insight that I can offer you into Steven's decision are the number of phone calls I had with him on the M74. The M74 is no place for any of us to be.”

So having delivered the Scottish Premiership title back to Rangers and stopped Celtic winning ten in a row, when Aston Villa came calling, Gerrard moved closer to home. His connections have allowed him to bring the likes of Coutinho to the club, and he has been given far more spending power than Lampard at Everton, but that only increases the pressure upon him. 

A top half finish is the aim for Villa and after an opening day defeat to Bournemouth, Gerrard is already on the back foot. There’s giant expectations for both of these clubs in the long-term and that could spell disaster for the former England duo if they fail to deliver this term. Everton can’t be battling relegation again, while Villa have to show some return on the pitch for their investment. 

If both of them are in charge in a year’s time it will be proof that they have progressed as managers. Their immediate future may be uncertain, but only one thing is for sure with this pair. Even when they are playing bingo in their nursing homes, Gerrard and Lampard will still be compared. Just don’t put them on the same team. 

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