LONDON (Reuters) - Frank Lampard underlined his importance to England with a superb winner in his side’s 2-1 victory over Brazil on Wednesday but his chances of reaching the 100-cap milestone could be scuppered by a move out of Europe, coach Roy Hodgson said.
The 34-year-old Chelsea midfielder’s 60th-minute curler after coming on as a halftime substitute for his 94th appearance was his 27th England goal since his first cap in 1999.
Hodgson, whose mix of youth and experience ensured a vibrant display from England, sees no reason why Lampard cannot emulate the feat of club colleague Ashley Cole who played his 100th international in the prestige Wembley friendly.
However, Lampard’s future at Chelsea is unclear and with no new contract on the table a possible move to the MLS in the United States could jeopardize his chances of appearing in next year’s World Cup finals, providing England qualify.
”He was excellent tonight,“ Hodgson told reporters. ”I think he can (reach 100 caps). I hope we keep him Frank in Europe but it’s not for me to discuss his future with his current club, that’s between him and the club.
”I know he will have a lot of offers if Chelsea do decide they are prepared to let him go and I would rather hope that we will see him still, if not in England, then in Europe because that would make my task easier.
”If he does follow David (Beckham) and goes further afield it complicates things but it doesn’t necessarily mean your career ends.
“But he of course he understands that the further afield you go the more problematic it does become for him and for the media to follow you and the national team manager.”
With Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere producing a classy midfield display alongside Steven Gerrard, Lampard’s place in the starting team is no longer assured but as he proved his eye for goal is undiminished.
Wilshere was at the heart of England’s best moments and despite winning only his seventh cap after a serious ankle injury sidelined him for a year, the 21-year-old looked perfectly suited to international football.
Composed on the ball and displaying an eye for the killer pass, he was voted man of the match and Hodgson said it was proof that Wilshere can handle the expectations on his young shoulders.
“I was trying to protect him from the press yesterday, he doesn’t need it,” Hodgson said. “It looks like you can crank the expectations up as high as you like, he looks quite comfortable.”
Editing by Ed Osmond