It has become football’s worst kept secret that Frank Lampard is going to succeed Maurizio Sarri to become the next Chelsea manager, but who exactly will he bring with him? And what will each of them offer behind the scenes?
The most famous face to Chelsea fans will be Jody Morris. He’s Frank’s right-hand-man at Derby County and has huge input into the first team both in training and during games. Jody is a Chelsea fan favourite, not only due to his playing days but also thanks to his time as the manager of the Chelsea Academy. We all know how successful the academy has been at the club as they’ve won numerous trophies including the FA Youth Cup on five straight occasions – but it’s not just his clear tactical nous and management skills that will excite Blue’s fans – its the link he will provide to the academy. Jody Morris knows the likes of Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek and will have the trust in them to ensure they get every chance that they deserve. The same goes for the current crop of academy talent who will surely look up to Jody, many young players have publicly expressed they’re admiration for him and he has the ability to judge who’s ready and provide that link to the first team. Morris was quoted saying ‘The players are good enough, most definitely, but the managers are not, for one, aware of them’ in regards to the academy and he will make sure that Lampard is aware of the talented youth on Chelsea’s roster.
However, Morris cannot only be judged on his ability to nurture the youth. At the end of the day he’ll be the assistant manager of the first team and he’s shown with his work at Derby that he is more than capable. He’s not only a great coach on the training ground but clearly also possesses an impressive tactical expertise and knowledge of how to manage players and games. As mentioned previously he was Lampard’s right-hand-man at Derby and provided regular input throughout the season in terms of in-game adjustments and tactical switches when necessary. He’s in the same boat as Frank in that it’s only his second season in the senior game but they certainly impressed in their first and will only improve.
One intangible that Morris’ will bring to Chelsea is his true and genuine love for the club. His passion will drive both himself and the players to be the best and having someone who is invested in doing what’s best for the club and fans will be extremely important. Morris made his Chelsea debut aged 17 and was always a boyhood Blues fan so there a few who can be described as more of a ‘Chelsea Man’ than the 40-year-old. This lifelong passion bodes well for Chelsea fans who have felt at times in the past that the club have lacked such figures at the club.
First team coach Chris Jones is also expected to follow Frank Lampard from Derby to Chelsea this summer. The former Blue’s fitness coach linked up with Frank at Derby last season. Jones worked with the first team under Carlo Ancelloti in 2009 and continued this work up until the end of the 2017/18 season before departing for Derby. Jones’ primary responsibilities and skills lie in the field of fitness. He would ensure that the player reach and maintain peak levels of athleticism as well as helping those who pick up injuries to regain their sharpness. Lampard described Jones as ‘integral’ to Chelsea in his time at the club and credits him for his work during a successful era.
Jones has now also developed into a first team coach rather than focusing solely on fitness and is expected to be key in helping Lampard get his ideas across on the training ground. Working with Mourinho twice, Ancelloti, Villas-Boas, Benitez, Conte and Hiddink will have certainly allowed Jones to pick up some valuable experience as well as both does and don’ts on the training pitch. He’s been credited with being brilliant with the players and helps to create relationships and build squad harmony, something that will be hugely important in preventing player’s heads dropping if the team go through a tough patch. The vast majority of Chris Jones’ impact will come at Cobham however he will, of course, be present on the bench on match-days to assist the likes of Lampard and Morris.
Steve Rands is another name expected to come to Chelsea for next season and will be lesser known to Blues’ fans. Rands is the Head of Performance Analysis at Derby County and will use video technology as well as expertise of the game to analyse the performances of both Chelsea and their opposition. Between 2011 and 2018 he worked with Manchester City as a performance analyst and became the head of this department in 2016 shortly after the appointment of Pep Guardiola. Lampard became aware of Rands during his brief loan spell at the club in 2014 and was clearly impressed with the in-depth technical work that he provided.
The kind of work that a performance analyst does is extremely important in the modern game and can give the team that slight edge and advantage before match-day which could swing the result of a tight game. Using highly technical video technology Rands and his team will break down key areas of play that would otherwise go unnoticed in what was just a mini-second of play. This will inform decision-making both of the coach and players and also the data can be used to improve both training and match performances. These fine margins are exactly what win teams football games and having the extra information before a game regarding things such as a certain run an opposition player makes at particular times or the way a defender regularly positions himself could change results, despite seeming like minor details. Having been described as one of the ‘top’ guys in his field by Lampard, Rands and his team could be the secret weapon in Chelsea’s backroom next season.
Shay Given is a famous name amongst pretty much any Premier League fan and could also become part of the Chelsea staff next season. Given had been working as, surprisingly, a goalkeeper coach last season at Derby County and could continue doing so with the Blues next year. Henrique Hilario is currently a goalkeeper coach at Chelsea and is expected to stay having been with the club since 2006. Other former Blues’ goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini is also involved at the club both as an ambassador and on the training ground. However, it is expected that Massimo Nenci will depart the club and follow Maurizio Sarri to Juventus which would mean the blues would have just one full-time goalkeeper coach (Hilario). This would allow Shay Given to take over the role left by Nenci and work closely with Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willy Caballero. Given had an extremely successful playing career in which he made 134 international appearances and played 489 senior league games, most notably for Newcastle United. At just 43-years-old Given would be another young coach at the club who is likely to bring fresh ideas to training and create strong bonds with playing staff. Having only retired in 2017, Given knows how modern footballers function and will be able to train and improve our current goalkeeping roster both mentally and physically.
They’re some of the key staff that are expected the follow Lampard to Chelsea from Derby but there’s a few other new names around the club worth mentioning as well;
U23s head coach Joe Edwards is expected to earn a promotion to the first team coaching staff when Lampard arrives having impressed with the youth sides. The 32-year-old has spent years coaching the multiple age groups throughout Chelsea’s youth teams and his U23s side have impressed in recent years. Edward’s was in charge of the club’s U18 side when they became the first side to win back to back FA Youth Cups in decades. Edward’s has worked extensively with youth in the past and is expected to link back up with former colleague Jody Morris but this time with the first team. Together they have pretty much worked with every single Chelsea academy player of the last 7/8 years and that will be extremely useful with the club having a transfer ban next season. Again, another young brain in the Chelsea coaching team and fans can expect plenty of fresh ideas and modern methods of training, coaching and playing at the club next season.
Petr Cech is already confirmed to have returned the club as a technical and performance advisor. This is a slightly vague job title but it is expected the club legend will have some say into the club’s transfer policy as well as playing a key role in advising the coaching staff. With Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba and Claude Makelele all rumoured to be joining the staff at Chelsea too, it’s clear that the club want to bring faces that know Chelsea back into the fray and potentially move into a new era of Chelsea Football Club.
It seems that we will have an incredibly exciting and modern-thinking structure at Chelsea next season with a young backroom setup and clearly an emphasis on finally utilising our impressive academy. Blue’s fans must remember that for many of the coaching staff it will be their first year with Chelsea and there could be worries that there is a lack of experience, however given time and backing this could be an extremely exciting time for the club.
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Written by Dan Barker | @danbarkzr