x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Friendlies round-up: Roy Hodgson hails England veteran Frank Lampard after win over Brazil

Gareth Bale once again underlined his importance as Wales ran out 2-1 winners over Austria, while Gordon Strachan got his career as Scotland coach off to a winning start.

Frank Lampard celebrates after scoring for England against Brazil in the friendly at Wembley Stadium.
Frank Lampard celebrates after scoring for England against Brazil in the friendly at Wembley Stadium.

Roy Hodgson insists Frank Lampard can play a key role in England's World Cup qualification campaign - despite the 34-year-old being surplus to requirements at Chelsea.

The midfielder came on as a second-half substitute to score a spectacular 60th-minute winner for England in their prestige friendly against Brazil at Wembley and Hodgson believes there is plenty more where that came from.

Lampard has been linked with a possible move to America in the summer when his Chelsea contract runs out.

But Hodgson believes that would be a mistake for a player who is now just six caps away from 100 for his country.

Hodgson said: "He was excellent. I think he can (reach 100 caps). I hope we'll keep Frank in England.

"It's not for me to discuss his future with his current club. I know he'll have a lot of offers if Chelsea do decide they're prepared to let him go.

"I'm rather hoping we'll still see him, if not in England then Europe which will make my task easier. If he goes further afield and follows David, it complicates matters but it doesn't mean your career is over with England.

"But the further afield you go, the more problematic it gets for the media and the England manager to follow you."

Lampard, 34, came off the bench as a second-half substitute for Tom Cleverley after Wayne Rooney had given England a first-half lead, and proved a valuable old head among a team full of young players.

Joe Hart also saved a first-half penalty from Ronaldinho while Brazil striker Fred hit an equaliser shortly after the interval.

But Hodgson singled out Jack Wilshere for praise after the Arsenal 21-year-old picked up the man of the match award.

Hodgson said: "I was trying to protect him yesterday, but he doesn't need it. You can crank the expectations up as much as you like, but he's comfortable. As long as he's comfortable, why should I worry?

"It's nice they're blending with the experienced ones and seeing they're good enough to play in this team and win matches."

might have stolen 15 minutes for Welbeck, but I hope he'd forgive me."

Brazil manager Luis Felipe Scolari shrugged off the first defeat of his second stint in charge.

He said: "I'm not disappointed, we played a strong England team in good physical form. We had seven, eight or nine players who have only just started with their preparations.

"All the England team were very strong and very organised. I wasn't surprised, England always plays like that."

Gordon Strachan admitted to being 'blown away' by nerves as he made his debut in charge of Scotland with a 1-0 win over Estonia.

Strachan was back at Pittodrie, where he helped Aberdeen to many memorable victories as a player including a famous comeback against Bayern Munich that helped the Dons on their way to the 1983 European Cup Winners' Cup.

Charlie Mulgrew scored his first goal for Scotland after sweeping home Charlie Adam's free kick to give the new manager a winning start to his career with the national side.

"I'm glad it's all over because in 40 years of football that is probably the most excited and nervous I have been before a game in my life.

"I didn't know how I would feel when I first took charge of the team. Now I know. It was an incredible experience.

"I don't think I expected that. I thought I had done nearly everything in the game, played everywhere, and it kind of blew me away really.

"I've been in the Champions League, I have had to beat AC Milan, Barcelona, Manchester United, and it wasn't like that."

Gareth Bale again stole the headlines and underlined his importance to Wales with a man-of-the-match display in their 2-1 win over Austria.

The Tottenham winger scored his 10th goal for his country with a smart finish on the end of Joe Allen's, before turning provider seven minutes after the break to set up substitute Sam Vokes's header.

Marc Janko pulled a goal back for Austria, but Bale's contribution ensured it was Wales who claimed a much-needed win, just the second of Chris Coleman's tenure, ahead of World Cup qualifiers with Scotland and Croatia next month.

"There are not many players that can do what he does," Coleman said afterwards.

"The cross for the second goal was great, he is such a threat and we know when we have him in the team we can afford to go without the ball for periods because he is such a danger when we get it to him.

"He changes the feel of a game and he is a big plus for us when he is playing on that form. He did two things tonight that not many players can do."

Michael O'Neill was left still waiting for his first win as Northern Ireland coach after a goalless draw in Malta.

"You want to win games, simple as that," said O'Neill afterwards

"We've had eight games, we've had five draws and three defeats. We've had some very difficult games in there.

"Of course it's a concern but at the end of the day the only people who can change that are myself and the players and I'm aware of that."

Ireland's 2-0 win over Poland in Dublin was marked by debuts for a trio of new players for the senior side as Giovanni Trapattoni looked to improve his options.

Conor Sammon, Jeff Hendrick and Richard Keogh gained their first caps as part of a young team that weathered a storm before Ciaran Clark and Wes Hoolahan scored their first international goals to secure victory.

"The result gives us confidence," said Trapattoni after the match.

"We play a strong Sweden team in a qualifier next month and the players will be more confident after this game.

"With more trust and more confidence, we can play better football.

"We have three or four more options in the squad and we are happy about that."



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