x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Lampard 'important' for England, says Capello

The Chelsea midfielder did not start in the Euro 2012 qualifier against Bulgaria, but the manager said at the time that he felt Lampard was not on top form and has not ruled him out against Wales on Tuesday night.

Frank Lampard remains a key player and leader for England, despite being left out of the starting line-up in last week's Euro 2012 qualifier in Bulgaria, Fabio Capello said on Monday.

Although Lampard came on late in that 3-0 win in Sofia on Friday, it was the first time since 2007 that the 33-year-old midfielder had been dropped from the start of a competitive match.

Capello, whose team play Wales at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night, said at the time that he felt Lampard was not on top form.

"Frank Lampard is a really important player," said the England coach, whose side top Group G with 14 points from six games, three ahead of Montenegro, who lost 2-1 to Wales on Friday.

"I don't know if tomorrow [tonight] he will play ... Probably we can change the style to a different style that we played against Bulgaria because we will play at home. He is one of the important players, one of the leaders in this squad."

John Terry, the England captain, also made clear he was backing his Chelsea teammate.

"Write Frank Lampard off at your peril," he said. "Because of his age people are tending to write him off but he is still in excellent form at Chelsea ... his record for England as well has been incredible."

Gareth Barry and Scott Parker shone in midfield against Bulgaria but both are one booking away from missing the next qualifier against Montenegro.

Victory against Wales would leave England needing only a draw against Montenegro next month to qualify for the finals in Poland and Ukraine next year.