'Now is the time' – Lampard backed to become Chelsea manager by Harry Redknapp

The Derby County manager is seen as a front runner to return to his former club this summer and replace their outgoing coach

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Harry Redknapp believes Frank Lampard would not be able to turn down the Chelsea job, if offered, and believes the former Blues midfielder would do well should he return to Stamford Bridge.

Several sources close to Goal believe Lampard is the front runner to take the upcoming vacancy as Juventus close in on a deal to hire the current boss Maurizio Sarri.

Sarri has struggled to convince many at Stamford Bridge of his quality despite winning the Europa League and securing a third-place Premier League finish, earning the Blues a lucrative spot in next season’s Champions League.

Chelsea have been in talks with several options to come into west London but the likes of former Juve boss Massimilano Allegri and Ajax coach Erik ten Hag have been cautious about moving with a transfer ban currently being imposed on the club by FIFA.

However, Redknapp, who his Lampard’s uncle, believes that Derby boss wouldn’t be able to refuse the offer if he gets the call from Roman Abramovich to take over at the club that made him world famous.

“Now is the time. If Frank gets offered it, it’s all about timing. I know you can turn it down and then it may never come again,” Redknapp said at Stamford Bridge.

“I’m sorry for Derby, it has been great with Frank and Derby is a really good club. Frank is a legend here, the fans would absolutely love having him back here. This place would erupt the first day he comes back.

“He has been here and done it, what hasn’t he done for Chelsea? No-one can question what he has done or what he has been. And he knows the game. There are no secrets in the game. You just need a bit of common sense and good players.

“If the players train half as hard as he did, he is the best trainer I have ever seen in my life, I have never seen anything like it. He was incredible at the training ground, everyday practice, practice, practice. If the kids here do the same and take that on board, it can only benefit them.

“I was here when Derby played Chelsea and the home crowd sang his name for 90 minutes, it was unbelievable.”

Some see Lampard as too inexperienced as a coach to come into a club at the size of Chelsea. However, he only narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League with Derby, losing in the play-off final against John Terry’s Aston Villa after a sixth-place Championship finish.

Undoubtedly, it would be a big step up for Lampard but Redknapp believes that he has the qualities to make up for his shortfalls of experience through his knowledge of the club and from his leadership during his playing days.

“He just is ready, he knows the game, he is a very clever guy, a bright boy,” Redknapp added. “It is all about players, good players. If he comes here it is going to be hard, they have got a transfer embargo but there is lots of good young talent here.

“He has the determination to be successful; nothing is going to stop him. He is very single-minded and he will work all day and night to be successful. He knows the kids; if Jody comes here with him, he will know the kids.

“We will see whether the young players they have got here that everyone talks about are good enough because he would give them a chance. They keep going out on loan and doing well, stick them in and let’s see what they can do.

“I think there is every chance that Frank would do that. He is a massive loss obviously (Hazard), but I still believe there are lots of good players here everyone is talking about as being fantastic – Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, he loves Mount.

“Let them play, get out and play, let’s see what they can do – who knows. It could be a blessing in disguise; it could be a good thing for Chelsea all these young kids coming in with lots of energy, love the club who have come through the youth policy.

“Who knows what they would do here. It will be exciting.”

Redknapp was one of the most successful English coaches of his generation and played a crucial role in getting Lampard his first job in management at Derby. The former Tottenham boss called up his neighbour Mel Morris and recommended Lampard, who was quickly appointed after an interview despite his perceived lack of experience.

Lampard’s father also played alongside the 72-year-old former manager and Redknapp described how he helped get the goal scoring midfielder’s first job in management.

“I rung the chairman to tell him to give Frank the job,” Redknapp continued. “I wouldn’t be in a position to do that at Chelsea because I don’t know the people. But I was very close with Mel Morris, who lives near me. I get on very well with him so when the job came up I rung him.

“To be honest, at first he wasn’t really interested “Oh no, I need experience”. After about ten minutes of me battering him on the phone, I said “meet him, and when you meet him, he is unbelievable. So he met him, and he rung me straight after the meeting to say he had given him the job because he was so fantastic.

“I’m sorry for Mel Morris and Derby, he has been great with Frank and Derby is a real good club.”

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