Former Chelsea team-mate Wayne Bridge backs Scott Parker to be a success at Fulham: 'He lives and breathes football'

Wayne Bridge has given backing to Scott Parker
Wayne Bridge has given backing to Scott Parker

Wayne Bridge is confident Fulham have a bright future under Scott Parker.

The former Cottagers left-back played alongside Parker while the pair were both at Chelsea.

And Bridge believes his good friend’s inherent leadership, which he witnessed first hand, could contribute to him being a success at Craven Cottage.

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Indeed, he mentions he has barely seen Parker since he took the helm at Fulham.

“He was always a good player, he was always a leader,” Bridge told Yahoo Sport UK.

Parker was renowned for his leadership qualities during a playing career which saw him captain West Ham United as well as Fulham.

Bridge insists those traits are already serving the 38-year-old well in his fledgling coaching career.

He added: “From what I’ve heard from people when he’s been doing his badges, whenever he has been coaching, he has been spoken of very, very, very highly.”

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Having suffered relegation with the west Londoners in 2014, Parker remained as a player until hanging up his boots in 2017.

He returned to the club the following summer, eventually becoming interim manager in February after a disastrous start to the season under Slavisa Jokanovic and Claudio Ranieri.

Parker could not prevent relegation, which had appeared almost inevitable before he took the reins, but he did reinvigorate supporters by winning three consecutive matches.

“It was always going to be a tough job for him to do anything with Fulham,” Bridge confesses.

That minor resurgence was enough to convince the Cottagers’ hierarchy to give him a crack at the Championship.

And Bridge hopes more clubs offer chances to ex-players taking their first steps into the dugout.

Wayne Bridge and Francis Benali at St Marys Stadium (Tom Shaw/NatWest)
Wayne Bridge and Francis Benali at St Marys Stadium (Tom Shaw/NatWest)
Wayne Bridge in action at St Marys Stadium (Tom Shaw/NatWest)
Wayne Bridge in action at St Marys Stadium (Tom Shaw/NatWest)

Bridge added: “Young managers, ex-players, they do deserve chances. Give a younger manager a chance.

“You’re not guaranteed anything whatever manager you sign, whether you sign a big name or someone who has done alright.”

Parker’s Fulham will be targeting an immediate return to the Premier League after a meagre showing.

It will be a tough ask, with only six teams managing it in the last decade.

“Hopefully, I’ve got my fingers crossed for him, they will be back up next year,” Bridge said. “And he will do well.

“He is a good coach, he loves football, he lives and breathes football. I’m sure he’ll do well.”

His advice to his fellow former England international is simple; make your players fight for you.

Bridge joked: “Like me when I went to Brighton, get some Premier League players that can help you out near the end of their career.

“It’s just a tough league, it’s a grind. I think it’s just getting the right players, you have to make sure your players are going to work hard and match other teams’ work ethic. I think a lot of it can be a battle.

“If they battle enough, they have enough quality to go and romp that league really.”

Could the former West Ham and Southampton man join his compatriot on the job?

“He did say to me about getting my coaching badges and maybe coming along, but I’m not sure it’s for me.”

Bridge, who made 87 appearances for Chelsea, retired following spells with both Reading and Brighton in the second tier.

Unlike Parker, and former team-mate Frank Lampard, Bridge is yet to take step into management. Whether he will or not, only time will tell.

Indeed, although admitting the chances are slim, the 38-year-old says ‘never say never’.

But he backs both Parker and Lampard to be successes due to their passion.

“Scott and Frank are managing because they love the game. You can’t really beat that,” he added.

“As long as you have got someone who loves the game, they are going to put everything into it.

“They are just starting out, they are going to put everything in they can. Them two are players that have been at the top, they want to be the best.

“They’re always going to try and be the best.”

Wayne Bridge was appearing at the latest Virgin Media #SuperSaints event which saw fans play at St Mary’s Stadium. For more information on the campaign, visit https://www.virginmedia.com/virgin-tv-edit/super-saints

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