Fabio Capello says Frank Lampard still key for England

2012 European Championship Qualifing Group G - England v Wales

Venue:
Wembley Stadium
Date:
Tuesday 6 September
Kick-off:
1945 BST
Coverage:
Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & online. Live text commentary online. Watch live on ITV1

Fabio Capello has insisted Frank Lampard remains a key member of his England squad, despite dropping him for the victory over Bulgaria.

Capello said Lampard, 33, could feature against Wales on Tuesday.

"I think he's ready to play with us. He is one of the important players and one of the leaders of this squad," he said.

He also insists that the Bulgaria fans responsible for alleged racist chants must be identified, and asked England supporters not to boo the Welsh anthem.

England players wore anti-racism wristbands in training after the abuse in Bulgaria.

Capello said: "The racism is a terrible thing. I am against [it] absolutely. I didn't hear in Bulgaria what happened because I was focused on the game. But we need to find the racists."

And he warned England fans: "I remember in Cardiff I didn't like the boos or the shouts against the other country, because for me as a manager and as a player it's a really important moment, because you wear the shirt at your heart at this moment.

"We need to fight against racism. It's a really high moment, a spiritual moment. You need to respect the other country."

England's win in Bulgaria, coupled with Wales' victory against Montenegro in Cardiff put Capello's side three points clear at the top of Euro 2012 qualifying Group G with two games left to play.

A win over Wales at Wembley would leave England needing only a point in Montenegro in October to secure their place in Poland and Ukraine next summer.

Chelsea midfielder Lampard's omission in Sofia was the first time he had been left out of an England starting line-up when fit and available for a competitive game since the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.

Capello said: "Frank Lampard is a really important player, like others that are here and some players that are not here, like [Jack] Wilshere, Steven Gerrard and other ones.

"I don't know if tomorrow [Tuesday] he will play.

"Probably we can change the style to a different style to the one we played against Bulgaria because tomorrow we are playing at home."

England captain John Terry also issued his backing to Lampard.

"Write Frank Lampard off at your peril," he said.

"I have known him an awful long time and he was disappointed about not starting but trained incredibly hard the day after and he remains one of the best players I have ever played with.

"Because of his age people tend to write him off but he is still in excellent form. His record for England has been incredible."

Terry said England's established players were aware there were a number of players now vying for a starting role in the set-up.

He said: "I think we all feel that in the squad, that has come in conjunction with the younger players really pushing on and playing well for their club sides.

"People said we maybe took it for granted, playing in the side but that has never been the case since I have been involved for England.

"It is a great mixture in the squad and I think Frank will rise to the occasion and will be back in the side very soon.

"We saw the other night Chris Smalling did well and Gary Cahill alongside me.

"It's not just Frank, we all feel pressure from the younger players for our places."

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