By Jonty Banks

18th Mar, 2023 | 11:10am

Ashley Cole opens up on Everton exit alongside Frank Lampard and questions timing of role

Ashley Cole has opened up on his sacking as first-team coach at Everton and has admitted that he and manager Frank Lampard may have taken their jobs at Goodison Park at the wrong time.

The former Chelsea legend worked alongside former manager Lampard for just under a year before the Toffees wielded the axe on the pair this January.

The ex-Blues pair had their fair share of troubles on the pitch as Everton slipped into the relegation zone over the New Year period, but also had to deal with the turbulent atmosphere surrounding the club and owner Farhad Moshiri, which resulted in protests prior to several home games at Goodison Park.

Cole, who is now part of Lee Carsley’s England Under-21s set-up, admitted in an interview with the Daily Mail that his time on Merseyside had stood him in good stead for a future managerial career.

He 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.

“Frank 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. We wanted to do better for the club, but was it just that we were there are the wrong time?”

Tough ask

Although Lampard has previously managed both Chelsea and Derby County – big jobs in their own right – the Everton managerial position may have been his toughest and most high-profile job.

Assisted by Cole, who is in the infancy of his coaching career, the theory that the pair were always inevitably going to fail due to the magnitude of the task at Everton doesn’t seem too far from the truth.

It wasn’t just the jumbled squad that the pair inherited, but also the toxic atmosphere at the club directed at Moshiri, that almost had them starting the jobs with their hands tied behind their backs.

Lampard managed to bring the new manager bounce to escape relegation last season, but it was always going to be a tough ask to improve their Premier League positioning after not investing in forward areas in the summer transfer window.

As first jobs in football go, Everton was a baptism of fire for Cole and Lampard.