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Chelsea triumph can inspire England - Lampard

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31 May 2012 00:16:59

Chelsea triumph can inspire England - Lampard

Frank Lampard has already witnessed one new manager defy all the odds to win Europe's biggest club trophy - he is now hoping that another new man can silence his critics and transform England's fortunes at the European Championships.

Roy Hodgson might not have been the fans favourite to take over from Fabio Capello when he left the job back in February, but the Football Association believe they have the best man to help England restore some much needed pride.

Hodgson has only had 40 days to prepare for such a big competition, but Lampard feels that is enough time to help England go all the way in Poland and Ukraine.

The experienced midfielder is in a good position to voice those views having witnessed Roberto Di Matteo transform a Chelsea team in such a short space of time.

It was only three months ago that Andre Villas-Boas had clearly lost the support of his Chelsea players and the west London club was in disarray.

But they never looked back after Villas-Boas was shown the door at Stamford Bridge and Di Matteo won back the support of the dressing room and steered them to FA Cup success and more importantly the Champions League trophy.

Having ended the season as a European Cup winner, Lampard has now switched his attentions to the national side and hopes Hodgson can have a similar impact on the England squad.

"It's certainly possible to kindle something very quickly. There's no magic formula in football. In my opinion man-management is of the utmost at top football these days," said Lampard, who faces a make-or-break scan on Thursday after injuring his thigh in training on Wednesday.

"When you've got a very good squad of players of course there's training and tactics which is important as well, but the man-management issue at Chelsea was the huge thing.

"Robbie took players aside and talked to them and made them feel confident and brought the best out of them, so then you've got a chance. If England can do that as a group then I still think we've got a great chance.

"We've got very good players in the squad so it's not so much a matter of time, the fact expectations are less because of that might work in our favour, it's a hard one to call."

Lampard is the first to admit that the change in manager at Chelsea not only transformed the team's fortunes, but also helped him get his career back on track for both club and country.

The 33-year-old was frozen out of the team by Villas-Boas and lost his place in the England squad even though Steven Gerrard and Jack Wilshere were both missing through injury.

He started to think that he had played his last major tournament for his country and was not expecting to board the plane for Poland and Ukraine.

But in a remarkable turn of events, Lampard quickly regained his best form under Di Matteo.

"I wondered (if I would make the Euros), yes. I'm not silly," Lampard said. "If you're not playing when there's other top line players who are not there then I wondered if I'd be out."

It would not be England heading into a major competition if the debate surrounding whether Lampard can play alongside Gerrard would not surface once again.

Lampard has been playing a different kind of role in recent months as a more defensive midfielder but he seems to have relished his new position.

With Gerrard still regarded as one of the best attacking midfielders in Eurpoean football, Hodgson might yet be able to find a solution which can accommodate playing two of England's finest midfielders in recent times.

When asked if he thought he can play alongside Gerrard, Lampard replied: "I think, yes. That's the headline straight away. I'm not going to say no and talk myself out of the team!

"Steven's a great player and I've had the pleasure to play alongside him for many a year even though it hasn't always been completely successful.

"The problem is, for it to be called a success England need to have a very good run in a big tournament," he said.


AFP

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