The Chelsea midfielder will make his 100th appearance for his country against Ukraine on Tuesday night and his performance will be key in the result.
England will step out in Kiev tonight to take on a motivated and in-form Ukraine side in World Cup qualifying. It will be landmark occasion for Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, who will win his 100th cap for the Three Lions in the clash.
The midfield veteran will feel nostalgia as he becomes the eighth player to reach the milestone after Billy Wright, Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore, Peter Shilton, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole.
However, despite the significance of the game for Lampard, the Chelsea man will need to put in a strong performance for it to be a memorable fixture, and not one that he and the rest of the England side want to forget.
With the visitors suffering an attacking injury crisis and the inexperienced Rickie Lambert up front on his own, it may well be down to Lampard and fellow midfield stalwart Gerrard to get the goals that can win the game for their nation.
Lampard is renowned for his goalscoring ability at Stamford Bridge and is the west London club’s all-time top goalscorer. A return of 29 international goals from 99 games is a commendable showing, and England will pray that Lampard can mark his 100th outing with a goal in eastern Europe.
With Hodgson likely to replace the suspended Danny Welbeck with defensive option James Milner, England’s only real attackers are Lambert and Theo Walcott. Although a draw is good enough for the visitors, playing for it is a dangerous tactic. As such, the attacking runs of Lampard and Gerrard to support the furthest men forward is crucial.
As with many games, the clash could well be decided in midfield. Lampard and Gerrard will go up against Ukraine captain Anatoliy Tymoshchuk in the boiler room and have to keep an eye on playmaker Edmar.
In the clash with Moldova on Friday night, the two veterans buddied up well with Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, with the trio looking accomplished and confident playing together. It will be these three that will be responsible for keeping possession for the visitors, which will be vital as England can expect to be under defensive pressure for periods of the encounter.
Lampard has epitomised the box-to-box midfielder stereotype throughout his career and the Chelsea man will need to put in another typical performance here. It may well be a historic occasion for the 100-cap man, but his role on the pitch is also critical for his side’s chances of success.
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