LAMPARD: LONG TIME COMING
After winning his 100th cap for England in September's goalless draw against Ukraine, Frank Lampard will captain the national side in tomorrow night's friendly against Chile at Wembley, and the Chelsea midfielder is understandably looking forward to what will be a special occasion.
Two months ago, Lampard became only the eighth player to reach the 100-cap mark for England, and the 35-year-old, whose two daughters will be mascots at Wembley, will be presented with a golden cap prior to kick-off by his father, Frank senior, and Geoff Hurst.
'It will be very special, 100 caps was a long time coming, I've seen gold caps rightly given to Stevie (Steven Gerrard) and Ashley (Cole) and I'm very proud,' he said. 'The idea to involve Sir Geoff was an FA idea, which I was obviously very happy with as I've had links to him my whole life, with my dad knowing him and what an England hero he is.
'I requested my dad be involved because there aren't many international father and sons, it's the sort of thing he'd normally shy away from but with a bit of pressing he's managed to get himself out there and hopefully he'll be a very proud dad.'
There is plenty of football to be played between now and the time when Roy Hodgson names his squad for the World Cup finals in Brazil, and Lampard went on to speak about the competition for places within the group.
'It will be very tough, it's a great position for the manager to be in because a few years ago we were asking where the youth was and the exciting players who were going to create chances and score goals for us,' said Chelsea's all-time highest scorer.
'We've watched them all come in, step up and play great games. These young boys have come in with no fear and they're adding something to the squad. Every player is in the manager's thoughts, not just the ones that are here today.
'It's up to every individual to stake a claim, there's a big gap now until the next England game so we have to put everything into these games and then go away and perform for our clubs as best we can.'
England have fared well against the top sides in recent years, with victories against Brazil, Italy and Spain, and Lampard believes the next two games, with the Chile fixture preceding next week's match against Germany, are the perfect type of tests looking ahead to next summer.
'I hope to play against Germany as much as every player in the squad does, I'm fortunate enough to captain the team tomorrow but come the Germany game on Tuesday we'll all want to be involved,' he said.
'They're two very exciting friendlies because they test us. The South American style is different to what we're used to playing against, so that tests us, and what more can an England player want than to play against the old enemy Germany at Wembley while we're playing well and on a good run?'
Hodgson had earlier confirmed Lampard will skipper the side, and the manager also stated Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines will share left-back responsibilities over the course of the two games.
'It's a pleasure to say Frank will lead the team out as captain tomorrow night. He'll be receiving his 100th cap, although it will be his 103rd game,' said the manager.
'He'll be receiving the cap from his father and Geoff Hurst so it will be a great occasion and we look forward to that.
'It's nice to have such good players to choose from. I'd have a bigger headache if I was wondering where I could find a left-back good enough to play for England.
'I will use one in one game and one in the other. I have enormous faith in both of them and think they're fantastic, quality players.'