Manchester City cult hero Micah Richards, speaking exclusively in an interview with Bwin, has detailed how former international compatriot Frank Lampard will one day become a top Premier League manager.
The Sky Blues legend amassed 246 appearances during his time at City, scoring nine goals and assisting 14 more, in a decade-long spell that saw him endear himself to the Etihad faithful with his powerful defensive displays and chirpy personality.
His love for the club was clear, staying and fighting for a place in the side despite an influx of new defenders arriving due to Sheikh Mansour’s takeover – consistently battling with fellow favourite Pablo Zabaleta to be City’s number one right-back during the Roberto Mancini era.
Now, after helping the Blues win copious silverware as a player, Richards has predicted that Lampard will become a top coach in the seasons to come.
Despite a shaky return to Stamford Bridge, at least during the very start of the campaign, ‘Lamps’ has managed to turn his club’s fortunes around after nearly gaining promotion with Derby County last season.
Chelsea have now climbed to third in the Premier League table, winning six games on the bounce since losing to Liverpool back in September and scoring 15 goals in that time – thanks in part to the sensational form of youngsters Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori.
“I think Frank Lampard will be a top manager,” explained Richards.
“Regardless of what money Frank would have had to spend, I think he would’ve brought youth through anyway. It’s becoming a young man’s game now.”
Understanding the importance of youth, Richards came through City’s academy and played an integral defensive role in the following years before moving to Aston Villa in 2015.
With Lampard adopting an ‘academy comes first’ approach to his first season with the Blues as manager, partly due to their current transfer ban preventing them from signing anyone in the summer, it appears to be paying off.
Abraham, who had a hugely prolific spell with Villa last season, scoring 26 goals in 40 appearances, is carrying on his blistering form in the top flight – having found the net 11 times already this season.