Bradley Johnson was a reliable performer for Derby County in their run to the Championship play-off final in 2018/19.
The Rams fell just short in a 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa with Johnson leaving the club and Frank Lampard going to Chelsea the following summer.
Johnson spoke of his admiration for Lampard and how valuable he believes the experience was, when he appeared on Total Media’s #OnTheJudy.
He said: “I’ve done my coaching badges and I know that it doesn’t matter what you’ve done in your playing career, coaching or managing is a totally different thing, it doesn’t matter who you are. He’d say he learnt a lot that season at Derby and we did well to get to the play-off final.”
Lampard went on to have a very successful 2019/20 season at Stamford Bridge by guiding the Blues to a top four finish despite operating under transfer restrictions. He was dismissed after a below par start to the 2020/21 campaign and remains out of a job since.
County completed a memorable comeback to earn their spot at Wembley in the 2018/19 play-offs by beating Leeds United 4-2 at Elland Road in their semi final second leg. Johnson was not ever present but was an important figure in providing a blend of youth and experience in the squad.
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It will be interesting to see if Johnson embarks on a coaching career after his playing days are over. Now 34, he is still a valued member of the squad but at Blackburn Rovers who are pushing for promotion to the Premier League, sat in fourth place at present.
Reputation built from a playing career can open doors and create shortcuts for managers after they have retired but it is not a proven recipe for success, and therefore it must have been fascinating to observe Lampard cutting his teeth in management in his first job at Derby.
It is a huge shame what has followed the 2018/19 campaign at Pride Park, but the supporters will have plenty of positive memories of the rollercoaster season and what both Johnson and Lampard contributed within it.