Willy Caballero foresaw Frank Lampard's move to management
(Photo: Getty Images/Darren Walsh

Chelsea's Argentinian goalkeeper amongst others has already felt the instant impact of Frank Lampard's arrival upon the squad as they partake in a pre-season tour of Ireland. 

Willy Caballero joined the Blues in 2017, moving from Manchester City where he played alongside Lampard in the midfielder’s final season in England. 

The 37-year-old played backup to Kepa Arrizabalaga last term, starting eight games across all competitions, keeping five clean sheets. He did start in Chelsea's recent friendly draw against Bohemians in Lampard's maiden game at the helm and now has a sense of what his manager is trying to achieve. 

Manager in the making

As mentioned, Lampard and Caballero had previously shared a locker room in the 2016/17 campaign with City, in which it was made clear to his then-teammate he would pursue a career after his playing days.

"I played with Frank for a season at Man City and even then you could see that he had those leadership skills in his character," he told the Chelsea website.

Lampard joins an illustrious list of former Premier League stars who turned to management in England's top division, to name a few:  Kenny Dalglish, Mark Hughes, Alan Shearer and current Manchester United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

These came with varying success and Lampard himself has very little in the way of a coaching CV, his only previous dabble was with Derby County.

Yet, in the views of Caballero, it is Lampard's outstanding achievements on the pitch that have set him up for the elite position he takes up now.

"During my time at City, I often spoke with Pablo Zabaleta and we would say that English teams needed big players who have won a lot of things in their careers to become coaches here. So I think it’s fantastic that Lampard is now our head coach, it’s fantastic for him and also for Chelsea," he said. 

In Hilario's hands

Lampard is not the only former Blue that Caballero is plying his trade from; Henrique Hilario was added as the goalkeeping coach in the new backroom staff shuffle, following his 39 Chelsea appearances between 2006-2014.

Caballero was accompanied by Arrizabalaga and Jamie Cummings, the number one for the youth side, to take part in Hilario's training sessions, which he believed has benefited the trio.

"It’s been great working alongside Hilario and we’ve been training really hard," said Caballero. "We have three goalkeepers here, myself, Kepa and Jamie [Cummings] and we work on specific-goalkeeper drills, while the rest of the players work with the other coaches."

All three are in safe hands, Hilario being a double FA Cup winner and Portuguese international, pushing them to high standards which has only been a positive for Caballero.

"We have a good bond and we are all enjoying the sessions so far. It is a lot of hard work with double sessions every day, but very enjoyable and spirits are high."

Age is just a number

Just shy of 40-years-old, many of similar age would be winding down their footballing life, however, goalkeepers seem to have a longer shelf life.

This is no different for Caballero, who kept in shape even during his holidays, admitting, "I kept working even when I was on holiday, I would try to arrange a few days off to go into the gym or get out running." 

"It’s so difficult to train on your own as a goalkeeper, but it’s mainly about staying in shape ready for the return of pre-season, which is what I did."

It seemed Chelsea's campaign only just concluded before they were kicking off again, their Europa League final win against Arsenal ending just short of two months ago. 

Although he did not feature regular, Caballero travelled everywhere with the squad and earned a trip back home to rest, which he was more than thankful for.

"As a foreign player it’s important to get back home when you can and that was nice, to recharge the batteries before getting back down to work again. Now we have been here in Ireland for a week or so now and we are all enjoying it and working hard."