FRANK LAMPARD was used to being John Terry’s trusty sidekick during their trophy-laden 13 seasons at Chelsea together.
So Lamps should have no problem sharing the limelight for one night only when JT makes an emotional return to Stamford Bridge tonight.
Only this time, it will be Lampard playing the role of No 1 and Terry as No 2 — in contrast to their playing days when Terry was skipper and Lampard his vice-captain.
Terry, 38, travels to his old stomping ground this evening with Aston Villa in his role as Dean Smith’s assistant.
He is likely to receive a hero’s welcome from Blues fans who are set to unfurl a large banner of their ‘Captain, Leader, Legend’ lifting the Premier League trophy.
While the club are also expected to pay tribute to their former defender with a montage of his greatest Blues hits, which include winning FIFTEEN major trophies.
Lampard said: “It won’t be that much different for me, I went up against him twice last year with Derby.
“It’s more about John, and the reception he’ll quite rightly get from the Chelsea fans — the most decorated captain, the greatest captain who won everything.
“He feels the club, everyone knows that, and I am sure the fans will certainly show their appreciation.
“I’m also sure it will be pretty emotional for John — and he deserves that moment.
“And I’ll certainly be pleased to see his face back at the Bridge.”
But after an impressive maiden campaign as a boss at Derby, it is the latter who will be in the home dugout tonight.
While Terry, who pipped Lampard’s Rams to promotion with victory in May’s play-off final, has surprised a few by beginning his coaching career as an assistant rather than a gaffer.
Lampard, who still regularly speaks to Terry and last chatted to him a week ago, said: “Everyone has their own route.
“It’s not that I’m surprised, it’s just a path he’s chosen.
“He’s working well alongside Dean at a very good club that he already had a link with from his final year playing there.
“I think it was a very normal thing for him to choose to do and I’m sure he’ll have a very long and successful career in coaching, management, in whatever way he wants to take it.
“Going to Derby without any experience was definitely a risk and it will always be a risk, whatever job you take in football because the competition is so high.
“John going in at Aston Villa as assistant is a risk of some sort because we all want success and so do owners.
“And whatever route John takes, both of us will be taking risks all the time. And it’s how well we do our job that will be the end factor.”
Some Blues fans may have hoped the Lampard and JT combination that worked so well as players could have been recreated by now as coaches.
But Lampard — Chelsea’s record 211-goal scorer — insisted it was never an option spoken about as Terry was comfortable at Villa although he did not rule it out in the future.
Asked if the dynamic between the duo would change now Lampard is the main man rather than Terry, the ex- Manchester City star replied: “No. Our relationship was always good. There were no layers to it.
“We were good friends and respected each other as professionals and colleagues. That just remains the same.”
Lampard is also a big fan of Villa chief Smith, who used to drink in the same Essex pub as the Chelsea manager’s dad Frank Lampard Sr.
The 41-year-old can feel indebted to Smith and Terry for the development of Tammy Abraham, who blossomed on loan under their management last season with 25 goals in 37 games.
That has paved the way for the 22-year-old’s impressive form back at his parent club this term and there is a chance he may recover from a hip injury in time to play tonight.
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The Blues chief added: “Tammy would have been all the better for working closely with Dean and John.
“It gave him confidence and it felt the right time for him to come back after that.
“Now he’s had a few loans, he’s scored goals, he’s proved it.”
This post written by Tom Barclay originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.