On the eve of their Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales at Wembley, England skipper John Terry has given his full backing to dropped club teammate Frank Lampard to rise to the requirements.
Against Bulgaria on Friday, England manager Fabio Capello opted to play Scott Parker, Gareth Barry and Ashley Young in midfield ahead of Lampard, who has been a regular fixture in the starting 11 when fully-fit. The last time he was on the bench for a competitive fixture, despite being fully fit, was back in 2007.
The drop has led to suggestions that it is the beginning of the end for the 33-year-old, an end of an era, but Terry had a warning for his club teammate's doubters.
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 went on to admit that it was not just Lampard but all the other senior members of the squad who were facing competition for places from the youngsters.
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. He went on. 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.
Manager Capello also admitted that Lampard could make a return, even as quickly as against Wales on Tuesday depending on the formation he deploys.
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. Capello said. 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.