Frank Lampard believes it was unfair for Raheem sterling to question the coaching roles he and Steven Gerrard have landed compared to Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole – but the Chelsea manager says more does need to be done to give black people opportunities in management.
In an appearance on BBC Newsnight earlier this month, Sterling suggested the fact Lampard and Gerrard have landed top manager jobs and Campbell and Cole have not highlighted the deep-rooted racism in English football.
Asked about Sterling’s comments, Lampard said: “I think what Raheem Sterling has spoken about in the last year or two, he has been brave enough to speak about issues that maybe should have been broached a while before. There is huge credit for that.
“In the actual case of managers, I think he got it, from my point of view, slightly wrong because it felt a very casual comparison.
“Because if you compare opportunities and pathways of individual managers . . . you can compare myself, Steven, Sol, who by the way did an incredible job at Macclesfield and the job he is doing now at Southend all of us would find incredibly difficult to do.
"Compare Ashley Cole who finished his career with me at Derby last year and is working his way here, doing a great job, and I think he is going to be successful with whatever he wants to do.
“So I think it is very hard to make that comparison from the outside. I think those opportunities have to be equal for everybody, we all agree on that. But within that, there are the details of how hard you worked.
"I certainly worked from the start of my career to get this opportunity and there are a million things along the way that knock you, set you back, you fight against
“The two owners I have had, for starters . . . Mel Morris [at Derby] was an incredible, inclusive man who wants the best for his football club and is the most fantastic fella. What he does at Derby he is very inclusive and is doing it the right way.
“In terms of the club I am working for now, it is a club that makes huge statements and actions around any form of prejudice. We did it a lot last season and have done it a lot recently, and our owner wants success. And I would like to think, no matter what your background is, I have played for a lot of managers at this club, you will get a chance.
“Having said that, I think there is certainly an argument, and I think we are moving forward and can move forward more quickly, where players get equal opportunities when they get into management. And not just players, but young coaches getting into the game.
“The FA do a lot of good work. I have just finished my pro licence. It was very diverse, very open, that needs to be encouraged. If there are any things we can do to help making sure everybody gets an equal opportunity and pathway into management, it needs to be done. And the numbers suggest there are things that need to be done.
“But with Raheem, the individual comparison when you do not have the detail of each person’s pathway, I felt was not quite right. But I want to say that Raheem Sterling as a player and a person, in what he has stood up for over the last two years, I think has been fantastic."