Frank Lampard made quite the impression on his return to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night after his Derby County side came close to taking Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea to penalties in the Carabao Cup.
Lampard, who was returning to the place where he enjoyed so much individual and collective success as a player, saw his team come back from behind twice in a 3-2 defeat to the Blues, and such a performance from the Rams will only serve to bolster their boss’ credentials as a manager even further.
Lampard has impressed at Pride Park since succeeding Gary Rowett at the end May, guiding Derby to sixth in the Championship table with the club having taken 25 points from their first 15 games of the season.
The 40-year-old has since spoken about his dream of one day managing at the very top (Sky Sports) and, if Wednesday night’s game against Chelsea was anything to go by, that vision could one day be fulfilled in the Stamford Bridge dugout.
Not just in Derby’s last outing but during their entire campaign so far, Lampard has shown all the signs of a manager who the Chelsea hierarchy and supporters would want to see at the helm.
The Chelsea legend plays a very entertaining brand of football with his Derby side always looking to pass out from the back and press aggressively high up the pitch, while the former England international has also not been reluctant to put his faith in a bunch of young players.
The likes of Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori — both on loan from Stamford Bridge — and Harry Wilson are all flourishing under the tutelage of the legendary midfielder.
It is early days, of course, but the signs are looking promising for Lampard on his journey to the summit, a journey which could one day take him back to Chelsea.