Lampard revels in day to remember

13 November 2011 01:16

England captain Frank Lampard hailed his match-winning display against world and European champions Spain as one of the greatest moments of his career.

Lampard has enjoyed countless days to remember during his time with Chelsea, but magical matches on the international stage have been harder to come by.

While Lampard has been able to celebrate Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup triumphs during his time at Stamford Bridge, his England career has mostly been marred by the team's repeated failures at major tournaments.

So the 33-year-old took special pride from leading his country out at Wembley for the first time and then scoring the only goal as England claimed a surprise 1-0 friendly win over a Spain team widely regarded as one of the best international teams in the last 40 years.

Lampard may only have been captaining the team in the absence of his Chelsea team-mate John Terry, rested by Capello in the aftermath of allegations of racism made against the defender, but that didn't diminish his pride in marking his 90th cap in such memorable fashion.

"I have achieved a lot of things I'm proud of, but this does take a lot of beating," Lampard said.

"Chelsea winning the league for the first time is up there but captaining England and getting the winning goal against the world champions is right up there as well. It's a day to remember.

"It was an amazing feeling to walk out there captaining the team on rememberance weekend. All the family and friends were here. I'm delighted.

"It was a very exciting goal for me to score. It became a very big game for me personally and I've kept the armband. I'll be very proud to keep that one.

"It might be the last time I captain England, hopefully I can do it again but I don't care now I've had that armband once at Wembley. That was very special."

Lampard, who headed the winner in the 49th minute after Darren Bent's header hit a post and rebounded into his path, gave a disciplined display in midfield as England managed to disrupt Spain's passing carousel.

Aided by midfield colleagues Phil Jones and Scott Parker, Lampard was able to ensure that, while Spain dominated possession, they rarely cut through the England rearguard.

"They obviously dominated a lot of possession at times in the game but I thought the desire and the defending of the team was brilliant," Lampard said.

"Phil Jones did very well. That is a baptism of fire, if ever you are going to get one, playing in midfield against them.

"Scott Parker was different class. Particularly in the second half. He was blocking things and throwing himself everywhere."

It was the kind of influential display that critics felt was now beyond Lampard after he was dropped by club and country at the start of the season.

Lampard himself never doubted he could get back in the side.

"People spoke a lot because I missed a game for England and a couple for Chelsea but I kept believing in myself, kept my head down and tried to get back in the team," he said.

"Looking back, it was a nice one for me to come back from because it gave me a little reminder that no-one is untouchable."

Although England's victory was a much-needed tonic after an inconsistent Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, Lampard knows there is still plenty of work to do before Fabio Capello's side can start dreaming of success in next year's finals.

"I think it shows we can take on anyone and get results," Lampard said. "To beat the world champions here is a big boost but I don't want it to look like we are getting ahead of ourselves because we are very realistic.

"We know they created and had a lot of possession. We were still waxing lyrical about the talent in their team even though we beat them."

Source: AFP