Everton-linked Wayne Rooney could learn lessons from Frank Lampard’s doomed tenure at Chelsea

The Chelsea legend took his dream managerial job a Stamford Bridge too early. Rooney must make sure he wouldn’t be making the same mistake at Everton.

They were at the fulcrum of England’s ‘Golden Generation’ team.

Both won everything possible to achieve in club football during their playing days.

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Now the duo are in the reckoning for the Premier League's latest managerial vacancy.

Frontrunners

Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard are candidates to become Everton's next boss.

According to The Telegraph, the Goodison Park hierarchy are keen to interview the pair as they search for Rafa Benitez's successor.

Both have, on the whole, been received warmly by supporters. For many, the positives outstrip the negatives that they come with.

Rooney, meanwhile, is currently in charge of Derby County where he's working footballing miracles.

The Rams are in administration and have been slapped with a 21-point deduction this season.

They're in dire straits yet would be 11th and seven points outside the Championship play-offs but for their deduction.

A return to his boyhood club might prove tempting for Rooney should an official approach be made. By all accounts, he'd find it too hard to rebuff.

However, if he was in a position that forced him to mull over a decision, he might well take heed of Lampard's career in the dugout so far.

An offer too tempting

Frank Lampard, left, and Wayne Rooney celebrate while on England duty together. Picture: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images

Rooney's former Three Lions team-mate had only just begun his managerial career when the club closest to his heart came knocking.

After guiding Derby to the Championship play-off final in his maiden season - how they dream of such euphorics again - Chelsea made their move.

Stamford Bridge was where Lampard spent the majority of his playing career. It's where he's the all-time top scorer and where he won three Premier League titles, the Champions League, four FA Cups, two League Cups and the Europa League. As club legends go, there aren't too many more.

Such affinity with the Londoners meant that, despite his inexperience, he simply couldn't turn them down in the summer of 2019. He seized the chance.

Lampard deserved plenty of credit for the work carried out in his first season.

With Chelsea under a transfer embargo, he had to make do with the players he inherited.

That meant handing chances to youngsters such as Mason Mount, who thrived massively, along with Fikayo Tomori, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Billy Gilmour. All thrived, particularly Mount.

Chelsea finished fourth in the Premier League in 2019-20, while they were beaten FA Cup finalists to Arsenal and also lost the UEFA Super Cup final to Liverpool on penalties. All in all, it was a highly creditable effort.

The axe was wielded

However, like so many of his predecessors, Lampard met a premature fate the following season.

His reputation and stature as a Stamford Bridge hero counted for nothing.

The former England international was given cash to substantial splash in his second summer. The best part of £220 million was spent.

Vast fees were paid recruit Kai Havertz (£72 million), Timo Werner (£47.5 million) and Ben Chilwell (£45 million), along with Hakim Ziyech (£36 million) and Edouard Mendy (21.5 million).

But with Chelsea languishing ninth in the table, Lampard followed in the footsteps of his former managers such as Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Guus Hiddink and Roberto De Matteo.

Roman Abramovich, renowned as one of the most ruthless owners in world football, wielded his axe.

After just 18 months, the job Lampard had coveted more than any other about was over.

Frank Lampard dejected during his time as Chelsea boss. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images

It was something that, going into the job, he had been braced for.

“There is not too much room for sentiment or emotion - you're there to do a job,” Lampard told Gary Neville on The Overlap last month

"If I'd have gone in thinking that, I'd have been naive. It might have given some favours with the fans that come every week that have seen my play every week - for a while because if you're not producing they'll think it's not your time.

"When I went into the job, if I'm brutally honest, I didn't think it would be a five-year project because history tells you not. History tells you managers stay for two [years]

"I thought it would be shorter term. It ended up being 18 months.

"I was concerned about the level of expectation compared to the squad and job that I had on my hands."

Food for thought

It remains to be seen whether Lampard will ever get another chance in the Chelsea hot seat.

Sure, Abramovich has rehired Mourinho and Hiddink in the past but, in Lampard's mind, the chance might have been and gone.

And, in truth, it's something that Rooney simply has to bear in mind.

He is still in the infancy of his managerial career, having only been at Derby for a little more than a year and taken charge of 65 matches.

The Everton job will be something that Rooney yearns for at some point in his career.

But when that comes around, he'll want it to be long term. He will have the ambition to etch himself in the club folklore rather than a flash in the pan that exits with regret.

Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring during his Everton playing days. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

As things stand, will Rooney believe that there's the correct infrastructure in place to succeed? There's currently no director of football appointed, while recruitment and medical teams are threadbare.

If things don't swiftly go to plan, owner Farhad Moshiri is just as cut-throat as Abramovich when it comes to sacking managers. He's already got rid of five. Rooney won't want to be damned to the same ending as Benitez, Marco Silva, Sam Allardyce, Ronaldo Koeman and Roberto Martinez.

On the other hand, it might be an opportunity that doesn't come around again for some time.

Should he pass up the chance, the candidate who instead lands the role could thrive. He could make his position insurmountable if silverware is delivered.

Certainly, if an official approach for Rooney is made, he will have plenty to ponder.