Lampard pays tribute to Young Lions
Friday, 07 September, 2012
England goalscorer happy with new midfield partners after win in Moldova.
England goalscorer Frank Lampard paid tribute to his young midfield team-mates Tom Cleverley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, as Roy Hodgson's new-look team started their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 5-0 win over Moldova in Chisinau.
Chelsea ace Lampard scored twice in the first half to set England on their way to victory, including a penalty after only three minutes, but he picked out Cleverley and Oxlade-Chamberlain for praise after the Manchester United and Arsenal stars produced promising individual performances.
"Tom played with such intelligence in midfield, he's a pleasure to play with and at such a young age he's going to be right in the middle of the team for many years to come," said Lampard.
"And Alex was brilliant. He lit up the first half with his injection of pace and running with the ball. It's great to see exciting young players like that playing for England.
"These are tricky places to come and the early goal always helps you to settle your nerves and after that our first-half performance in particular was sharp.
The result gets the Three Lions off to a good start in their qualifying campaign but with Ukraine next up at Wembley on Tuesday night, Lampard wants to see even more improvement for what is sure to be a different and more difficult proposition altogether for the Three Lions.
"We will try and improve," he added.
"Whenever we play, even if we play pretty well, we always look for areas to improve. I think we took our foot off the pedal at times in the second half, and maybe that's natural when you are 3-0 up with another game in a couple of days.
"We've trained very hard and with an attacking mindset. We are looking to get the ball into our pacy players on the wings or behind the front men.
"Defoe is looking very sharp at the minute. We will try to keep playing with that positive attitude and stay as tight at the back as well.
"But we need to keep a high level for 90 minutes on Tuesday and try to win against Ukraine."
Cleverley also spoke of his delight at the performance in what was his Senior competitive debut in an advanced midfield role: "The win is the most important thing and 5-0 away from home anywhere is a good result."
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