Aston Villa boss Dean Smith impressed at how Frank Lampard gets his message across
Dean Smith admits no surprise at how quickly Frank Lampard has gotten his message across at Derby County.
For one thing, the Villa boss experienced first hand the former England international’s effectiveness as a communicator, after hiring him as a motivational speaker.
It was two years ago that Smith, then in charge of Brentford, invited Lampard in to talk to his players.
The Chelsea legend, whose Rams team are aiming to extend a six-match unbeaten run when Villa head to Pride Park tomorrow, certainly left a positive impression.
“When you meet Frank, he has a really good way about him,” revealed Smith. “He understands the game and what it takes to get to the top, like he did.
"And he articulates it well. You can see at the moment, the way he wants to play, he is getting across to his players very well. They (Derby) are showing what a good team they are.”
Smith continued: “We used to do it quite regularly, get someone in from another sport or someone at the top of the game.
"I have known his dad, Frank Sr for quite a while. I asked if he could get in touch with Frank to see if he would come in and talk to the players.
"Frank then kindly came along and had a chat with all the players and staff and was really good.
“He talked about his career, his pathway to get where he got to and how he sees where he is going in the the future.
“He was just starting to do a bit of coaching then at Chelsea, with the younger players. It was great for my players to hear from someone who has had the career he has had and how hard he worked to get there.”
Former Royal Marine commando Jason Fox and rugby coach Ben Ryan were among the other speakers who visited Brentford during Smith’s tenure.
It is a policy the head coach, always keen to explore new methods and ideas, now intends to continue at Villa. The first couple of speakers are already being lined-up, though their identities are being kept secret.
Smith added: “There are a couple I have got up my sleeve who I think would be really good to come in, for the players listen to and ask questions. I think that is the important thing, that they ask questions.
“One of the things we started to do at Brentford, and would like to do here, is to go and visit other sports and then come back and present back to the staff and the players.
“It is good practice and you might get ideas from other sports and clubs.”
Lampard got his first break in management during the summer and the Rams, who sit fifth in the Championship, have won plaudits for their attacking style play and certainly represent the toughest test to date of Smith’s Villa reign.
A number of storylines are at play as Villa seek to snap a three-game losing streak away from home, not least the presence in the visiting dugout of Lampard’s long-time Chelsea team-mate John Terry.
Smith joked how the former international team-mates had been calling each other during the course of the week in an attempt to discover the other’s team.
“It will be quite unique for all of them because they’ve spent so much time together at one club,” said Smith.
“To go head-to-head will be very interesting for each of them.”