Lamps lauds youthful Lions

Frank Lampard has expressed his delight at the positive impact youthful exuberance has had on England’s World Cup squad.

Raheem Sterling, 19, Ross Barkley, 20, and 24-year-old Daniel Sturridge all impressed in the Three Lions’ match against Italy – despite being on the end of a 2-1 scoreline.

Lampard – who turns 36 on Friday – is the party’s elder statesman but claims those three, along with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, represent a bright future for English football.

Raheem Sterling at the England press conference on Tuesday

Lampard was speaking alongside Sterling

The former Chelsea midfielder said: “The young players have had a big impact. From the minute the manager picked the squad we were all quite excited by the youth.

“The way Raheem and the other young boys have played for their club teams – they’ve excited people throughout the season.

“I think we’ve been crying out for some youthful exuberance and attacking play and the lads have brought that, not just against Italy but in training.

“It’s great to watch and great to see. They’re young and going to improve but at the same time I think they’re ready to make their impression.”

Sterling’s performance in the No10 role against Italy captured the public’s imagination, and Lampard insists the Liverpool attacker can go on to be one of the country’s finest players.

He said: “Raheem can be as good as he wants to be – we’ve seen that in small glimpses already from him in an England shirt .

“He announced himself last season, but watching his second half of the season from afar was something a bit spectacular for me. It’s great to see him carry that into the England squad, I’m sure he’s going to get better and better.

“We’ve been crying out for some youthful exuberance and attacking play and the lads have brought that”

Lampard

“We all remember our early days in the squad and there is an adaptation period but some adapt quicker than others and Raheem looked like he was one of those which is great, but he’ll get even better for us.”

Sterling is hoping his performance against Italy will ensure he starts Thursday’s match against Uruguay in Sao Paulo.

But it remains to be seen if boss Roy Hodgson will deploy him or Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney in the playmaker’s role.

Rooney started the Italy match on the left-hand side of an attacking trio behind Sturridge and – despite setting up England’s goal – his performance in that position came under the spotlight from certain elements of the media.

Lampard added: “They’re both fantastic players and the manager will want to get the best out of the team. To do that, you get the best out of individuals.

“We saw lots of glimpses from Raheem the other day around his attacking play and I think, if you take Wayne’s name away and look at the performance, the work rate and the ball he put in for the goal people might look at it differently.

“I think we’re dwelling on something that we don’t need to look for. It’s about a team performance. We didn’t win the other night but the minute we start trying to focus on individuals again and again, I think it can become a bit detrimental. In the squad, behind closed doors, we’re all looking at trying to win games.

“There were a lot of positives from the last game, but the big negative was we didn’t win it. It was one of those funny situations afterwards where you’re happy with elements but not happy with the fact that we lost.

“What’s important now is to clean it up, look forward and try and keep those good points going and improve on them because we need to win games.”