Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has hailed Raheem Sterling’s “brave” fight for equality but believes the Manchester City player was wrong to compare different managers’ coaching pathways.
In an appearance on BBC Newsnight earlier in June, England winger Sterling questioned how Lampard could be appointed Chelsea boss and Steven Gerrard as Rangers manager while international contemporaries Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole are yet to break through at a top level.
“There’s something like 500 players in the Premier League and a third of them are black and we have no representation in the hierarchy, no representation of us in the coaching staffs,” Sterling said.
“There’s Steven Gerrard, your Frank Lampards, you have your Sol Campbells and you have your Ashley Coles.
“All had great careers, all played for England. At the same time, they’ve all respectfully done their coaching badges to coach at the highest level and the two that haven’t been given the right opportunities are the two black former players.”
Although Blues manager Lampard was quick to pay tribute to Sterling for taking a consistent stand in the fight for equality, he felt the comparisons of the four ex-England team-mates sounded too “casual”.
“What Raheem Sterling has spoken about in the last year or two, he has been brave enough to speak about issues that maybe hadn’t been broached and should have been broached a while before; he deserves huge credit for that,” said Lampard.
“I think you could say the same for a real spectrum of Premier League players: Marcus Rashford recently, Jordan Henderson, Troy Deeney, Mark Noble.
“I don’t want to leave too many out, but I think they are making a great impression of themselves in what they are saying.
“I think in the actual case of managers, I think he got it, from my point of view, slightly wrong, because it felt like a very casual comparison.
“Because if you compare opportunities and pathways of individual managers, you can compare myself, you can compare Steven, you can compare Sol, who by the way did an incredible job at Macclesfield and the job now at Southend is tough, it’s one all of us would find difficult to do.
“Then you can compare Ashley Cole who finished his career last year with me at Derby, and is working away here (as Chelsea academy coach) with me and doing a great job, and I think he’s going to be successful whatever he wants to do.
“So I think it’s very hard to make that comparison from the outside.”