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England can cope without Terry says Lampard

September 10, 2012
LONDON: Frank Lampard insists John Terry’s absence against Ukraine on Tuesday shouldn’t derail England’s bid to maintain their 100 percent record on the road to the 2014 World Cup.

Roy Hodgson’s side suffered a significant blow over the weekend when Terry was ruled out for the Wembley qualifier after sustaining an ankle injury in Friday’s 5-0 demoltion of Moldova in Chisinau.

The loss of such a senior figure would have been bad enough on its own, but Terry isn’t the only England star currently sidelined through injury.

Terry’s fellow Chelsea star Ashley Cole will also miss the Ukraine clash, while Wayne Rooney, Andy Carroll and Adam Johnson were all already unavailable for both matches.

None of those absences were a problem against Moldova, who were every bit as bad as their 141st place in FIFA’s world ranking suggested.

Ukraine are likely to pose a more substantial threat, yet Chelsea midfielder Lampard, who scored twice in the rout in Moldova, is confident England have the strength in depth to claim another win.

Gary Cahill is set to deputise for Terry, while Everton’s Leighton Baines, who scored his first international goal against Moldova, will continue to stand in for Cole.

“It is a blow for John personally and for the team because he is an inspirational player and a fantastic centre-half,” Lampard said.

“He is a top player and experienced in these qualifying games. We saw his ability through the Euros in the summer and the other night and a big player, you always miss.

“But it’s squad football and we are fortunate enough to be blessed with fantastic back-up, good centre-halves like (Gary) Cahill and (Phil) Jagielka.

“Whoever comes in are experienced top players. Whenever you lose a big player, you need the squad to step up and do the business and I’m sure we’ve got that.”

Just as important as the performances of the defensive stand-ins, Hodgson will be hoping two of his young creative talents can thrive in a high-pressure environment.

Arsenal’s teenage winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley, 23, both delivered mature displays that belied their tender years in Moldova.

But the tense nature of a qualifier at Wembley against dangerous opponents who are likely to opt for a counter-attacking gameplan is a far more challenging proposition.

If Oxlade-Chamberlain and Cleverley can shine in that situation, it will be a major step forward in their development.

Manchester City midfielder James Milner, another of England’s goalscorers in Moldova, has no doubts they will rise to the occasion.

“The squad is a great place at this moment in time – there are a lot of younger players coming in, they are very young lads now with the likes of Ox (Oxlade-Chamberlain) coming in,” Milner said.

“To experience these games at a major tournament already is invaluable – he is a very good player and we have seen what he can do already, think how good he will be in a few years.

“Clevs (Cleverley) is a top player, very comfortable on the ball and plays great passes in that position he played the other night.

“He is a good link between the midfield and the forwards – he does his work defensively and helps keep the shape.”

England took on Ukraine in the Euro 2012 group stages, winning 1-0 to book their place in the last eight and Milner, who started that day in Donetsk, expects an equally tight contest this time.

“This time it is on our home turf and we need to make sure we put in a good performance, but they showed over the summer they are no pushovers,” he said.

“We need to be on the top of our game – hopefully we can get an early goal again, settle down and play some football.”

-AFP


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