Frank Lampard, Jonathan Woodgate & Vincent Kompany: When star players return

Lampard celebrating
Frank Lampard scored 211 goals in 13 years for Chelsea

In an admittedly crowded field, the hot football trend of 2019 could well be 'club legends returning to their former sides as manager'.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Jonathan Woodgate and Vincent Kompany are just three of the names to have secured permanent managerial roles at clubs where they played - and there may just be more to come.

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has been heavily linked with a return to Stamford Bridge after Maurizio Sarri moved back to Italy to join Juventus.

Lampard took Derby County to the Championship play-off final last season - his first in management - and bagged several high-profile scalps in cup competitions.

The 40-year-old has legend status at Chelsea - he's the club's all-time record goalscorer and won the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Europa League and Champions League during his 13 years in west London.

His potential return has left some feeling very nostalgic.

Chelsea fan tweeting about Lampard's rumoured returned to Chelsea as manager

If he makes the move, Lampard will be the latest in a long line of returning legends swapping shorts and socks for suits and ties.

Former Middlesbrough centre-back Jonathan Woodgate has recently returned to the club as head coach. Woodgate started his youth career at Boro before making his name at Leeds and Real Madrid, and saw out his playing days at the Riverside before retiring in 2016.

The 39-year-old's return had all the hallmarks of going deep into one of football's most famous management simulation games.

@FootballManager tweet about all these returning managers feels like being eight years into a save on football manager

Woodgate's return to Boro came just weeks after Manchester City's title-winning skipper Vincent Kompany returned to his first club - Anderlecht - as player-manager. Across Manchester, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - a Treble winner as a player - has been at the wheel at United since December 2018.

Lower down the leagues, former Charlton midfielder Lee Bowyer led the Addicks back to the Championship with victory in last season's League One play-off final.

Of course, this is nothing new.

Pep Guardiola, who played for Barcelona's first team from 1990 to 2001, jumped into management at the Nou Camp and won 14 trophies between 2008 and 2012 - and Liverpool icon Kenny Dalglish twice managed the Reds.

So is this just the natural circle of football life? Or are owners now hoping to tap into that Zinedine Zidane magic?

The legendary French midfielder played for Real Madrid between 2001 and 2006, returned to the club as manager in 2016 and won three Champions League titles in three years before stepping down in 2018.

After Real failed to retain their European crown last season, Zidane returned. and the club have backed him to the tune of 300m euros already this summer.

Only time will tell whether Lampard turns out to be the real deal, but we can't help wonder which of today's hot prospects might be managers in 2039. Phil Foden's City v Marcus Rashford's United in the Manchester derby, anyone?

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