Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has backed Frank Lampard to feature in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The 34-year-old midfielder is out of contract at Stamford Bridge in the summer. However, he has been in excellent form over the last couple of months, scoring regularly for Chelsea and the England national team; he scored the winner in last week's international friendly against Brazil.
"Frank can play for England in Brazil, yes. He is a good professional. In the training sessions he works very hard, like the rest of the team, so he is fine. It is difficult to say, how long he can go on for. But if he has no injuries he can still play at a good level," the ex-Liverpool boss said.
There has been considerable speculation over a new contract being offered by Chelsea but after recent comments by Lampard's agent, Steve Kutner, it would seem the Blues will not extend their star midfielder's deal. The England international has been linked with moves to China and the US but may be unwilling to move so far afield after England coach Roy Hodgson's comments.
Lampard has 94 caps for England and if he manages to reach a century of appearances, he will become only the third person, in the present England squad to reach that landmark. As of now, in the side that was called up to face Brazil, only Chelsea team mate Ashley Cole and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard have 100+ caps. Overall, Lampard is eight on the list of all-time caps and will become the eighth player to have more than 100 caps for the national side if he reaches the landmark.
Meanwhile, Benitez has also disclosed part of his motivational methodology to get the best out of Lampard. The Spaniard explained he used a holding midfielder to help lessen the burden on the veteran.
"We work tactically with Frank to manage his workload and to do the things we want to do. When he has a defensive midfielder next to him he can go forward. David Luiz understands the defensive midfield role and he knows we need that balance," the former Inter boss said, adding, "When I spoke with David, he knows Lampard and Ramires are players who like to go forward so to have a player like Luiz who can stay in the middle is important."
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