England boss Roy Hodgson praises Lampard, Gerrard & Cole

By Phil McNultyChief football writer in Kiev
England: The Three Lions's legendary 100 club

England manager Roy Hodgson admits his three centurions have proved "a godsend" as he prepares for the crucial World Cup qualifier with Ukraine in Kiev.

in the Olympic Stadium to join seven others with a century of England appearances, alongside team-mates Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole.

And Hodgson says he is indebted to the trio as he prepares for the game that could decide the winners of Group H in the battle to reach Brazil next summer.

"Having their reliability has been a godsend," said Hodgson. "They are such reliable, consistent players.

"For me personally it has been a godsend, to be a year and a bit into the job and have those type of people with terrific experience of playing for England, to have experienced the highs and lows."

Hodgson also insists the continued international commitment of 35-year-old Lampard, Gerrard and Cole is proof of the enduring attraction of playing for England.

"I'm not saying they have never had a bad game but you know perfectly well what those players do bring to the team and want to bring to the team," he said.

"And what is also so important is that it gives a lie to the fact that the England team doesn't matter to players and the Champions League has taken over once and for all, that the players are only interested in getting into the Champions League and getting a bigger contract and earning more money.

"I think you look at those three players and they have all done it at the highest level. They're all Champions League winners for a kick-off. They must have God knows how many Champions League days behind them.

"They don't need an extra England cap and yet I know there will be no prouder or more willing England players here in Kiev than those three and that's a great example to the younger players.

"If I was a younger player coming into the team and I saw those three I think they would put me on the right track."