Derby boss Frank says Terry presence has boosted Jack
By Graham Hill
FRANK Lampard reckons Jack Grealish is reaping the benefits of the John Terry effect at Aston Villa.
Lampard says his ex-Chelsea captain and long-time pal has got the best out of former bad boy Grealish – who is set to bring his three-month injury lay-off to an end against Derby today (Saturday).
Rams boss Lampard admits to being a Grealish admirer – especially as he has taken Terry’s influence on board.
Grealish played with the ex-England skipper last season when Villa reached the Championship play-off Final only to lose to Fulham.
And this term, fans favourite Grealish has been coached by Terry.
But the player who was a top target for Tottenham last summer has missed an important part of Villa’s season.
He has been out of action since early December with a shin injury – and Villa have won only once since.
But now he could ignite a late bid for Villa manager Dean Smith’s fading play-off hopes.
And Lampard knows how important Grealish will be.
The Derby manager said: “Jack’s worked with John Terry – and he should look up to him.
“John’s ethics and how he was as a player means he can pass on a lot of information to Jack for sure.
“It seems as though he’s got a reaction from him in the 18 months that he’s been in around the club.
“Jack’s matured a lot as a young player.
“He’s one of the best players in the league when he’s on form.
“Jack’s an outstanding young player in this league.
“And Villa were able to fight off interest from the Premier League last summer.
“He’s a big player for them and played very well at Pride Park for them earlier this season.
“I talk to John a lot, but not about this game, it’s professional leave it in the week leading up to the game. It’ll be good to see him, we get on well.”
Lampard and Terry come face to face on the touchline for the second time this season.
Terry came out on top at Derby in November when Villa won 3-0.
And there will be plenty of Chelsea connections today.
Villa Park was the venue when he became Chelsea’s all-time record goalscorer six years ago.
And Lampard also brings ex-Stamford Bridge coaches Jody Morris and Chris Jones as well as former Chelsea star Ashley Cole and loanee Fikayo Tomori.
Villa have another Chelsea loan man in Tammy Abraham as well as coach Terry.
But Derby’s Mason Mount – also on loan with the Rams – is likely to miss out through injury.
Lampard also needs a victory to make sure Derby stay in the race for a top six finish – but accepts today’s game doubles as a Chelsea reunion.
He added: “There are a lot of Chelsea links here – that’s the nice part of it.
“We all get on very well. I know Tammy and Tomori are very close along with Mason – who’s injured.
“Across the benches with John, Jody and Chris, there’s a bond there from our Chelsea days that never goes away.
“It’s been an incredible goals return for Tammy Abraham this season.
“He’s done extremely well for Villa but I don’t know about his future, that’s a question for the Chelsea manager and Tammy. He has a big say in that.
“Both clubs need a win, we aren’t getting the results we want, but this’ll be a very difficult game for us.”