Frank Lampard’s playing career was loaded with goals and silverware – which is just what all Chelsea fans will be hoping he brings if he agrees to become their new manager.
Lampard, 41, looks set to return to take his seat in the Stamford Bridge dugout after Chelsea were granted permission to talk to the current Derby boss.
Hailed as the “standout candidate” when he was appointed to replace Gary Rowett at Pride Park last summer, Lampard had signed a three-year deal to help take the Rams back into the Premier League.
While his side came up short when beaten by Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final at Wembley, Lampard impressed with his fresh management style – and few would begrudge him a celebratory toast after Derby ended Leeds’ involvement as ‘Spygate’ came full circle. The young English coach was now very much on the radar.
Lampard is Chelsea’s record goalscorer and won 11 major honours during a 13-year spell in west London. That glittering array of medals will, though, only buy him so long to deliver – both at home and in Europe when the Blues return to the Champions League next season.
A product of West Ham’s fabled academy, Lampard – under the tutelage and guidance of coach and father Frank Lampard Senior and Hammers boss and uncle Harry Redknapp – quickly showed his talent.
A move to Chelsea beckoned in 2001 before Roman Abramovich’s billions helped the Blues forge a team good enough to challenge for honours.
But, for all the money splashed by the Russian oligarch, Lampard’s place in the Chelsea midfield remained largely unchallenged.
The England international would lift three Premier League trophies, four FA Cups and two League Cups as well as the Champions League and the Europa League – every major honour on offer to a player in the English game.
Lampard remains Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer, his tally of 211 taking him past the long-standing mark of Bobby Tambling. He came second only to Didier Drogba in a 2012 fans’ poll to find the best player in the club’s history.
Capped 106 times by England after making his debut in October 1999, part of the so-called ‘Golden Generation’, Lampard’s international career is likely to be remembered mostly for a goal that never was.
A typical long-range effort crashed in off the underside of the crossbar to draw England level against Germany in their 2010 World Cup last-16 clash in Bloemfontein, where they had trailed 2-0.
The goal, though, was not awarded by referee Jorge Larrionda despite the ball clearly bouncing over the line.
England went on to lose 4-1 and crash out of another tournament which they had entered with overbearing pressure to succeed.
Lampard eventually left Chelsea in the summer of 2014, and looked set for a switch to New York City FC in Major League Soccer.
It was a move, though, which would controversially see him first line up for the MLS franchise’s parent club Manchester City. During March 2015, Lampard made his 600th Premier League appearance, the second player to do so after Ryan Giggs.
After finally hanging up his boots following the end of his contract with New York City FC, Lampard worked in the media before making his first tentative steps into management at Derby, who finished sixth in the Championship to earn a shot at promotion.
Off the field, Lampard was awarded an OBE in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours, while the former Brentwood School pupil with a GSCE A* in Latin has also penned a series of children’s novels around ‘Frankie’s Magic Football’.
Throw in a high-scoring MENSA test earlier in his career and it becomes apparent Lampard is more rounded than your average footballer.
His wife Christine gave birth to daughter Patricia in September last year, Lampard’s third child.
Chelsea fans will be hoping to soon toast more new arrivals with trophies in the Stamford Bridge cabinet.