Frank Lampard has spoken about his admiration for Raheem Sterling, explaining why he believes getting the best out of the winger could play a big part in getting Chelsea firing again, especially in our next match against Real Madrid.
While Frank Lampard is still getting to know many of the members of the current Chelsea squad after returning to Stamford Bridge as caretaker manager on Thursday, Raheem Sterling is one player he is already familiar with.
Although this will be Lampard’s first time managing Sterling, the pair were team-mates with England at opposite ends of their careers, most notably during the 2014 World Cup, which was the first major international tournament of Sterling’s career and the last before Lampard’s international retirement.
It is clear the forward, who joined Chelsea from Manchester City last summer, is a player our caretaker manager has a lot of respect for, having identified getting him performing at his best in west London as an important target for his time in the dug-out.
‘I think he’s a fantastic player,’ said Lampard. ‘He’s been one of the best wingers in the world for a long time, at times maybe in some people’s opinions the best.
‘I can’t remember how many times I’ve referenced him as an example to young wingers when I was here previously at Chelsea and at Derby and Everton, telling them to watch Raheem Sterling and see why he scores 20 goals a season plus, stuff like that. So I’ve got the highest regard for him in that sense.
‘I’ve spoken to Raheem a little bit over the last few of days. But we also need to get the right team structure to make it best for the players and then drive them, to get the best out of them. So I’ll speak to Raheem more.
‘I just think he’s a top player. These things are always 50-50 for me, it’s about getting the right structure for the player and then the rest is the player themselves, but Raheem’s shown what a player he is.’
Although Sterling is in his first season with the Blues, he is also one of the more experienced members of this young Chelsea squad, with four Premier League winner’s medals to his name as well as appearances in European finals for club and country.
They say form is temporary but class is permanent. With that big-game experience under the winger’s belt, Lampard feels Sterling could prove to be an especially important asset in our squad for the upcoming Champions League quarter-final tie against Real Madrid, which begins with the first leg in Spain on Wednesday evening.
‘I haven’t watched every Chelsea game this season because of time as I was obviously doing my own thing, but he certainly is a player of a higher level and a higher confidence level and with an understanding of the game that it won’t faze him.
‘In fact he’s risen to games like that in the past, so that’s something we’ll obviously rely on in terms of this because some elements of the squad are maybe a bit younger. Raheem’s been there and done it and has a history of producing.’