“The job consumes you. There are moments when I’m away working or I’m on the laptop at home and this time last year my wife, Christine, and I were chilling, having a bite to eat down the King’s Road. So of course there are moments when it can be difficult, but I’m fortunate my wife is very understanding and I have support so I won’t cry about that.”
Andy Murray’s emotional announcement of his planned retirement from tennis was a reminder of how hard top sportsmen can be hit by the end of their playing careers.
But Lampard, who is Chelsea’s record goalscorer and won every domestic and European club trophy before finishing his career at Manchester City and New York City, insists he does not stand on the touchline wishing he was playing or take the opportunity to remind himself and others how good he was on the training pitch.
“You see the story of Glenn Hoddle, the famous one, that he could ping it and then couldn’t understand why everyone else couldn’t do it,” said Lampard. “I’m not like that at all.
“If ever the players sense you were like that it is a difficult situation. That’s the first thing to learn as a manager if you’ve been a player. I like to think I’ve got humility as a player. I don’t sing my own praises in my head. I was always: ‘What can I do to improve?’ As long as I see that in players, I don’t care what level they are at. I care about their desire to get better.
“I felt like I did as much as I could. I didn’t feel like I left anything else on the table. If you’d told me at 17 that you’re going to play for Chelsea and England, and win everything I did, I genuinely wouldn’t have believed you.
“I was so on myself as I player, completely driven – season after season game after game and I really enjoyed not having that. I enjoyed that my career was done and starting a new chapter. I sometimes get involved here [in training] when my calf’s all right, but when it’s not I’m not that concerned. I like what I’m doing now, I’m not the one trying to play in the five-a-side all the time.”