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Hodgson urges Lampard to remain in Europe

ESPN staff
February 7, 2013 « Hodgson hails Wilshere and Walcott | Chartbeat test »

Roy Hodgson insists England's match-winner against Brazil, Frank Lampard, can earn over 100 caps for the Three Lions if he remains in Europe beyond this season.

Lampard's strike from the edge of the penalty area earned England a 2-1 win over their Brazilian counterparts on Wednesday evening. However, with the midfielder linked to an MLS move in the summer, Hodgson urged Lampard to consider staying close to England for the benefit of his international career.

"He was excellent," Hodgson said of Lampard. "I think he can (reach 100 caps).

"I hope we'll keep Frank in England. It's not for me to discuss his future with his current club, that's for him and his club. I know he'll have a lot of offers if Chelsea do decide they're prepared to let him go.

"I'm rather hoping we'll still see him, if not in England then Europe which will make my task easier. If he goes further afield and follows David (Beckham to MLS), it complicates matters but it doesn't mean your career is over with England.

"But the further afield you go, the more problematic it gets for the media and the England manager to follow you."

Wayne Rooney gave the home side a first-half lead, while goalkeeper Joe Hart saved a penalty from Ronaldinho. Brazil striker Fred then hit an equaliser shortly after the interval, but Lampard responded with a second-half winner.

"I hope that gives them belief," Hodgson explained. "We had quite a young team out there, with players 22 or younger.

"The man of the match (Jack Wilshere) was 21. Theo Walcott is 22 and was a contender. It was a blend of youth and experience.

"There were also young players in (Tom) Cleverley, (Danny) Welbeck, (Chris) Smalling. So it's nice they're blending with the experienced ones and seeing they're good enough to play in this team and win matches.

"The thing that pleased me the most was the character we showed after that dodgy spell at the start of the second half.

"They smelt a bit of blood, I thought we did well to survive that period and to get back on track and take control of the game again."

Hodgson made a point of singling out Wilshere for praise after the match, expressing his admiration of the midfielder's toughness.

"I was trying to protect him yesterday, but he doesn't need it," said Hodgson.

"You can crank the expectations up as much as you like, but he's comfortable. As long as he's comfortable, why should I worry?

"I'm pleased with the way we went about our business. We didn't steal anything. Apart from that somewhat mad spell at the start of the second half we dealt well with the problems and questions asked of us. A good victory and let's hope it leads to more good performances between now and October."

Hodgson's Brazil counterpart Luiz Felipe Scolari was nonchalant in his attitude after his side's loss defeat, claiming he went into the clash with no expectations.

"I'm not disappointed, we played a strong England team in good physical form. We had seven, eight or nine players who have only just started with their preparations," he said.

"All the England team were very strong and very organised. I wasn't surprised, England always plays like that.

"Let's see what they will play like on June 2 in the Maracana. We aren't in the best physical condition yet.

"I'm used to losing the first game but after this I'm used to winning games and winning competitions. I'm not disappointed and I'm not sad. As long as we play against strong teams like England, France and Italy we will improve our capacity."

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