Ashley Cole opens up on his and Frank Lampard's Everton exit – and hails Manchester City whizkid full-back Rico Lewis | The Sun
ASHLEY COLE has opened up about his and Frank Lampard’s sacking at Everton for the first time – and how it taught him how tough life at the top can be for a manager.
Three Lions legend Cole was first-team coach at Goodison Park to close pal Lamps, who was axed in January following a run of four straight defeats.
Cole revealed the “hurt” the coaching staff felt at failing to make a success of their time at the club – but said it had not put him off his own ambitions to be a head coach himself one day.
The 42-year-old, who is also assistant to England Under-21 boss Lee Carsley, said: “I learnt a lot that I probably can’t mention to you, to be honest.
“But I think it’s put me in good stead. It’s certainly not put me off. It’s certainly made me very aware of how tough the job is and how tough managers have it, in terms of the Premier League.
“It’s ruthless, it’s super hard to get three points if you’re not one of the big teams. Everyone is in and around each other.
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“I get it now. I see challenges managers and coaches face. Hopefully I’ll take that into my next role, into my next journey, and hopefully I can perform better from learning from the experiences I had.”
Lampard took over in January 2022 and managed to save the club from relegation last season.
But with the Toffees sliding into another relegation battle this term, his tenure was ended just a year after his appointment with Sean Dyche named as his successor.
Asked what it was like seeing his former Chelsea and England colleague go through it all, Cole replied: “I can only talk from my eyes and what I saw.
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“He certainly would have had a lot of challenges that us, as coaches, weren’t aware of and stuff that was above us. How he has to manage up and manage the staff around him, of course it’s going to be difficult.
“Maybe it was a transitional period for the club, (so) it was always going to be hard. It’s a humungous club, a huge club, with a lot of history.
“We had a good relationship with the fans, walking around the streets of Liverpool, there was probably frustration there because us as staff thought we should be going up the table, and we seemed to be just levelling out and going a bit lower in the rankings.
“That really hurt us, we want to do better for the club. But, was it just that we were there are the wrong time?”
Cole was speaking after the announcement of the latest England Under-21 squad, which included Manchester City whizkid Rico Lewis for the first time.
And despite being regarded by many as our greatest ever full-back, Cole claimed 18-year-old Lewis is currently doing things he could never have managed at the same age.
The former Champions League winner explained: “Rico is showing his importance at such a young age of being adaptable.
“He can play right-back, centre-back – even being small -, left-back. He’s come through a Man City group with Pep’s ideas of ‘this is how we want to play’, being brave in what they do.
Rico Lewis and Jarrad Branthwaite were the two new faces to be brought into Lee Carsley’s Young Lions squad.
Full England Under-21 squad
Goalkeepers: Carl Rushworth (Lincoln, on loan from Brighton), James Trafford (Bolton, on loan from Man City), Anthony Patterson (Sunderland), Josh Griffiths (West Brom);
Defenders: Max Aarons (Norwich), Ben Johnson (West Ham), Rico Lewis (Man City), Jarrad Branthwaite (PSV, on loan from Everton), Levi Colwill (Brighton, on loan from Chelsea), Charlie Cresswell (Millwall, on loan from Leeds), Djed Spence (Rennes, on loan from Spurs), Luke Thomas (Leicester);
Midfielders: Tommy Doyle, James McAtee (both Sheffield United, on loan from Man City), Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones (both Liverpool), James Garner (Everton), Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa), Angel Gomes (Lille), Oliver Skipp (Spurs);
Strikers: Flo Balogun (Reims, on loan from Arsenal), Morgan Gibbs-White (Nottingham Forest), Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal), Noni Madueke (Chelsea), Cameron Archer (Middlesbrough, on loan from Villa), Cole Palmer (Manchester City).
“He’s adapted so well and you see the growth he’s had.
“I certainly couldn’t do that at that age, to be that game aware but do it with it with high quality and concentration.”
Meanwhile, Carsley says his focus is on succeeding with the England Under-21 at this summer’s Euros following reports this week that he could move on after the tournament.
He said: “I’ve done 13 games as Under-21s manager . It’s not a lot of games to do.
“I love my job. I’m very lucky. The interview process I went through to get the job was tough. In terms of candidates, I was up against some really good people.
“I feel like I’m massively supported within the role. I feel like I’ve got a lot of ambitions that I want to do here.
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“My priority will be the summer, making sure we do well.
“Our last campaigns have been really disappointing and putting that right is at the front of my mind.”
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