Lampard not resting on laurels
Friday, 05 June, 2009
Chelsea ace says England will not be complacent in search for qualification.
Frank Lampard believes the team ethic that now surrounds the England squad is breeding newfound confidence, although no one will be taking the up-coming World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra lightly.
“The manager sat us down as soon as we met up on the first day of training and explained the importance of the games but I think we knew that already as a squad,” said the Chelsea man.
“We’re very pleased with how we’ve played to get to this point and these two games are huge games for us because it will really give us a big step towards qualification, albeit not quite there. And I think we’re taking them very seriously.”
The fixtures come at the end of another hard-fought domestic and European season but Lampard doesn’t believe it will be difficult for him and his team-mates to put club football behind them and instead focus on their international duty.
“It’s come at a pretty good time for us. Everybody is still pretty fit, pretty fresh and whether players have won Cup Finals or lost Cup Finals we’re very focused now on England duty and we’re not taking the games lightly at all, particularly this one [against Kazakhstan].
“Considering the hard first half [Kazakhstan] gave us at Wembley, we know that to come and play them here will be an even more difficult game, so we have to be very concentrated,” he said.
England beat Kazakhstan 5-1 when they played them at Wembley in October last year, a game where Lampard was once again influential from midfield. However, he is aware that what is required from him on the field may change to suit the team dynamic, particularly how he and fellow midfielder Steven Gerrard work together.
“I enjoy the challenge of the switch. Anyone who knows me or watches me understands that my preferred role is to be in the box regularly and play as I do at Chelsea but you have to be professional and big enough, and intelligent enough really, to play in different roles to suit the team.
“I think there are quite a few players, since the manager's come in, who have slightly altered their roles and the way they play, and the main benefit has to be for the team and I think you can see that in the results. I’m enjoying being part of a winning team.”
England now hope that the positive results can continue throughout qualification for South Africa 2010, although Lampard is more than aware of the pitfalls.
“We realise how far we’ve come and we’ve come quite far from obviously not qualifying from the Euros. But it’s also important that we realise how far we want to go because there is a long way to go, and the moment we rest on our laurels and think that we’ve already qualified or think that any game is going to come easy, that will be the turning point again.”
The 2010 World Cup Group 6 Qualifier kicks off at 9.00pm local time, which is 4.00pm BST and will be broadcast live on Setanta Sports 1
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