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Frank Lampard takes swipe at modern footballers and how discipline has changed from his days

Frank Lampard takes a swipe at modern footballers and reflects on how discipline has changed from his days as a player for club and country.

The Everton boss has criticised the ‘social media’ generation of leaders in modern day football, claiming that ‘the power of players has changed’ and that players can’t be disciplined in the same ways as he was when he was playing.

Lampard, who made over 850 career appearances before retiring in 2016, admitted he has ‘to be careful not to become the dinosaur’ that compares the modern day to when he was playing, saying ‘leaders look different’.

Lampard, on BT Sport’s Between The Lines, added that he doesn’t ‘feel those communication levels’ of the past, before admitting ‘it’s really hard to retrieve’ the trust of players once it is gone.

‘We were expectant of a hammering after a bad game or a training performance, we got on with that,’ said the 44-year-old.

‘With the players now, that is not generally the way to handle them, because they are different. The landscape has changed, the power of the players has changed, and the agents around them.

‘You’ve got to be careful not to become the dinosaur that says “in my day, the dressing room was tougher, it was this and that.” Leaders look different.

‘We’ve just had Conor Coady come in and he looks like the leaders that I associated with in our day. Vocal, pushing, really driven and direct. A lot of the lads now, I don’t feel those communication levels.

‘They communicate differently, they do it on social media. You have to understand that and treat them differently to how we were treated.’

Lampard is in his third spell in management having at stints at Derby County and Chelsea, revealing he’s had to learn on the job, and compared today’s management style to that of Sir Alex Ferguson, who was known for ‘the hairdryer treatment’ and shouting at players after a dreadful performance, and Lampard says that the focus now has to be on himself rather than the players.

‘We all grew up and love Sir Alex Ferguson and hear the stories of the hairdryer and think “I better do that because that’s what managers do, I have to give someone a hammering so everyone is a little bit wary,” but when you actually do it – and I’ve done it – if you get it wrong, it’s really hard to retrieve, whether it’s an individual player or in front of the group,’ he said.

‘And they’ve got friends in the group that then don’t like it. This is something I learnt at Chelsea. Your aim can only be can I win on Saturday, so if I go out on Wednesday and hammer some players for not training hard or listening to the information, I could lose them, whereas if I go away myself and think about how I can tweak it and improve it, then it feels like you’re being more hands on rather than shouting which is quite easy to do.

‘There’s a time and a place for a shout, don’t get me wrong, but with the modern day player you really have to approach it in particular ways.’

‘You have to be real and understand we were in a relegation fight for a reason,’ he admitted.

‘Whatever those reasons are, they’re not important to me now, the important thing is that we get things right going forward so I think it’s almost what the next steps are for us.

‘One will be to make sure we are stable this year in the Premier League, but no crazy statements about where can get to until we start to show it on the pitch.’

Frank Lampard believes Everton’s summer transfer business addressed his immediate priorities for the team but says not every problem can be rectified in one window.

“I think Evertonians are realistic,” he said. “Outside the fanbase maybe there is a lazy view that Everton are big historically and should be in the top eight after the money that we spent a while ago. But it doesn’t work that way. There are clubs in and around us in terms of last season’s table who have spent a lot of money, are more stable and are spending money at a higher rate than we are. But we have to focus on ourselves and see if we can improve on last season and have a good sense of identity.

“I think this window has helped with that identity. The plan was – can we bring more personality in the team? Can we be more solid at the back? Can we bring more youth that will develop and get better? I think we have done that. Now it’s up to us – and me – to work and show that we are doing a good job.”

Everton are without a Premier League win this season before Saturday’s Merseyside derby against Liverpool and Lampard says finding the correct balance between an improved defence and the attack will take time. “History tells you when you are building for something it takes time and there are bumps in the road,” added the Everton manager. “To think we can go from a relegation battle and solve those problems in one window … you can’t solve them straight away in one day on the training pitch. It takes time. We are in that early stage.

“I think Evertonians are very understanding. No one is expecting us to go to the moon and if we try to we will make mistakes trying to get there too quickly. It is my job to get the balance.”

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