After a glorious 13 years at Chelsea as a player, Frank Lampard returned to Stamford Bridge to try to do the same from the sidelines as a manager. One of his intentions is to give youth a better chance, provided they earn those opportunities to shine in the first place.
Of course, that does not mean completely setting aside the team’s veteran talents, who have continued to bring in a study supply of trophies even as results overall have been rather inconsistent. And that includes David Luiz, who himself returned to Chelsea after a brief absence, in 2016 and has since added a Premier League, an FA Cup, and a Europa League trophy to his already sizable trophy cabinet — which of course includes the one with the Big Ears, won alongside Lampard on that glorious night in Munich, seven years (!) ago.
While the youngsters are obviously grateful that there is a manager in town who is eager to break the club’s bad habits, the curly haired defender, the third oldest player in the team after backup goalkeeper Willy Caballero and striker Olivier Giroud, is also eager to work under his former teammate.
“It’s great to see him here. He’s someone who knows what it means to be at Chelsea and understands the DNA of this club. We are working well so far, everyone is getting along and the sessions have been great.
“Lamps, or should I say ‘Gaffer’, is now our leader and he’s going to try to do everything he can like he did when he was a player, and now it’s up to us to help him build the spirit and the philosophy around the club to be successful.
“He was a leader as a player, so already he was trying to do his best for the team and it’s not a surprise to see him as a manager. In fact I think it’s great.”
Lampard is not the only former teammate and club legend David Luiz has seen return this summer. Chelsea’s new administrative setup includes Petr Cech, who will serve as a technical advisor, filling in part the void left by the departure of technical director Michael Emenalo two years ago.
“It’s fantastic to see players who know Chelsea so well coming back to the club, particularly leaders like Lamps and Petr [Cech]. They will be great for us, and they will continue to do their job as best as they can, just wearing a different shirt this time!”
“The club is so big and it’s great to work together, and I’m including the Academy and the Women’s team in that too. We are all Chelsea.”
As for matters of football, David arrived at training camp on Monday alongside most of the rest of the first-team and is now working hard to get ready for the season. The veteran center back may be young in spirit, and armed with a new two-year contract, but still has a 32-year-old’s body to contend with. Fitness work becomes more and more important as players get older, and David Luiz recognizes he’s no exception to that rule.
“It’s amazing to be back, it’s always a great feeling to be here and working with the boys. It’s about getting back on track and working hard again, playing football for this amazing football club and working with the young players too.
“It’s important to take care of yourself, particularly as you get older! But yes you have to stay disciplined, get in shape and arrive here ready to adapt as soon as possible to the new philosophy.
“I’ve had many pre-seasons and I know how hard they can be, so over the summer I was keeping myself ticking over to ensure I was ready to hit the ground running when I arrived back for pre-season.”
-David Luiz; Source: Chelsea FC
After playing a key role for Maurizio Sarri last season, David Luiz should be one of the first names on Lampard’s team sheets as well. But there are many younger players vying for his job, and that should create some good competition going forward this season.