England veteran midfielder Frank Lampard has said that he, along with the rest of the more experienced members of the squad, face a challenge if they are to be part of the squad that heads to Brazil next summer.
Lampard himself has plenty of competition in the middle of the park. Steven Gerrard is perhaps the only guaranteed starter when fit as he is the captain of the team, and Lampard seemed to be taking nothing for granted in the press conference ahead of the friendly match with Chile.
‘Every player that’s in the manager’s thoughts and I’m sure there’s a lot more than are just here today. It’s up to us now, every individual to stake their claim. There’s a big gap now to the next England game. We need put everything into these two games, go away to our clubs and perform as well as we can.’
The players that currently play in the central midfield role along with Lampard includes Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Ross Barkley, Jordan Henderson, Phil Jones, Jack Wilshere while Jonjo Shelvey and Leon Osman have also been given a chance by Roy Hodgson. There are perhaps even more central midfielders that could be considered but it shows how competitive it is for places in that position.
‘It’s a great position for the manager because we bemoaned the fact a couple of years ago saying where’s the youth? Where’s the exciting players who are going to create chances and score goals for us?
‘We’ve watched them all come in, step up and play great games. These young boys are coming in without any fear and adding something to the squad. Every player that’s in the manager’s thoughts and I’m sure there’s a lot more than are just here today. It’s up to us now, every individual to stake their claim.’
It’s perhaps testament to Lampard’s professionalism that he is keen to keep improving as much as he can and perform to as high a level as possible, though it is hard to imagine him not being part of the travelling party to Brazil in the summer. He has recognised that England's selection lately has had a lot of form players in there, rather than just their reputation.
Though there are many qualities amongst those competing for Lampard’s place – good technique, drive, pressing, energy and vision, Lampard has been on the big stage many times before. He may not be a guaranteed starter, but his presence around the side would be huge.
Clearly from his comments, he doesn’t want to be a passenger at any World Cup, he wants to have an integral role.
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