Chelsea owner Abramovich been waiting five years for Lampard to return and he can give him a legacy to cherish

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THE invitation has been on the table for five years — it has just been a question of when it is accepted.

A month after Frank Lampard played his final game for Chelsea, Jose Mourinho revealed details of a conversation with owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea owner Abramovich been waiting five years for Lampard to return and he can give him a legacy to cherish5 Roman Abramovich celebrates with Frank Lampard during the Chelsea legend's playing daysCredit: PA:Press Association

Mourinho, then Blues boss, said in 2014: “Mr Abramovich has left the door completely open for him, on the understanding Frank can come back when he wants in the way he wants.”

There was not a man, woman or child in football who did not expect that one day it would end with Frank sitting in the manager’s office.

'A NEW BOOT-ROOM DYNASTY'

And similar to Steven Gerrard eventually becoming Liverpool boss, it is a footballing marriage which everyone believed was merely when — not if.

The biggest certainty since Noah held his hand out and said, ‘It looks like it might rain'.

Now, with Maurizio Sarri leaving Stamford Bridge — has there ever been a more successful failure? — that time has come for Lampard.

All-time top scorer, triple Player of the Year, Champions League and Europa League-winning captain, three titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups . . .  and now manager.

Only there are people who believe Abramovich should not entertain the idea of appointing a man with just one year’s experience.

Just like there are those who think Frank should not entertain the idea of returning to work for someone about to welcome a 14th manager since he bought the place 16 years ago.

Lampard, so they say, should not consider it, given the owner’s insistence on immediate success.

Given a total lack of patience and refusal to allow a project to develop.

Chelsea owner Abramovich been waiting five years for Lampard to return and he can give him a legacy to cherish5

Isn’t what happened to Roberto Di Matteo, his previous ex-player appointment, warning enough?

Sacked just six months after winning the Champions League as caretaker boss.

Only that was a different time, and a different man. Lampard will return already as a legend. A man who commands even the owner’s total respect. And certainly that of all the players.

A man who knows the club, will bring with him — in Jody Morris — an assistant who knows all the Blues youngsters and the youth system.

And with Chelsea facing a two-window ban on signings, that last bit is all the more important, too.

With so many young players on the books — be it returning from loan or coming through the ranks — there could be no better duo to take that development to the next level.

But back to Roman, a man so trigger- happy Billy the Kid would raise an eyebrow. Well maybe now is the time for that to change.

Appointing Lampard, with Morris alongside, is a genuine chance for Abramovich to lay down a legacy that will live forever.

A chance to put down the foundations for a new, boot-room dynasty. A chance to change the entire DNA of the club.

Chelsea owner Abramovich been waiting five years for Lampard to return and he can give him a legacy to cherish5 Frank Lampard's achievements at Chelsea will take some beating

Yes, Lampard has just one year’s managerial experience, at Derby.

And true — as his critics gleefully point out — he did not get them out of the Championship.

But he could not have gone any closer.

And by common consent, he had them playing some fantastic football, with some fantastic young talent at the heart of it.

With Eden Hazard gone, some of the youth at Stamford Bridge will get the openings that otherwise would not have come.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James may be crocked for the early months, but they will return — and thrive under a man like Lampard.

But they are not the only ones.

Those returning from spells elsewhere, like Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount and those just below, like Ethan Ampadu or, below him, Conor Gallagher and Marc Guehi.

Lampard himself once admitted that, for all the money spent on marquee arrivals, Abramovich had told him he would love to see more of the youngsters come through.

Well this is the chance to show it. And he has the managerial team who are best placed to get the best out of them.

It might mean a season of development, of accepting it for a year.

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And it might need Roman showing he is prepared to wait a while until those shoots are in full bloom.

But then again, who knows, they may surprise us all.

One thing is certain, though — it is doubtful you will find anyone daft enough to suggest they couldn’t win anything with kids.

DON'T KNOCK US

SOME goons put the boot in on the USA women for not easing up against Thailand — and for celebrating their last goal as wildly as the first in their 13-0 World Cup romp.

They reckon it did the competition’s credibility no good and they should have shown pity.

What absolute b******s — it would have been patronising and unprofessional.

It was a chance for the USA to put the fear of God in every other nation.

If that doesn’t fit with your idea of sport, maybe try the theatre.

Chelsea owner Abramovich been waiting five years for Lampard to return and he can give him a legacy to cherish5 Alex Morgan scored five as USA beat Thailand 13-0 at the Women's World CupCredit: AFP or licensors
RIVALS GO TOE TO FOE

WHEN Pakistan face India in the cricket World Cup at Old Trafford today, it will be to a backdrop of armed guards and the highest level of security.

Batsmen will be accompanied to the pitch before they make their way to the middle, such is the ill-feeling between these two nations.

Certainly puts the Manchester-Liverpool rivalry into the shade a little…

Chelsea owner Abramovich been waiting five years for Lampard to return and he can give him a legacy to cherish5 India face Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup in one of sport's biggest rivalriesCredit: AFP or licensors

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