RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Frank Lampard’s place in World Cup history was assured even before arriving in Brazil.
As the player whose disallowed goal in South Africa four years ago compelled FIFA to reverse its opposition to goal-line technology, the England midfielder’s impact on the World Cup potentially will outshine some of the great scorers.
Lampard, who will turn 36 on Friday, is unlikely to make such an impression on this year’s tournament. He had to watch from the bench as England opened with a 2-1 loss to Italy on Saturday, and would not expect to start against Uruguay on Thursday.
“I want to play obviously, but I’m aware that you aren’t always going to start and I will be turning 36 at the end of the week,” the England vice-captain said. “I’m under no illusions and playing at club level I’ve not played every game in the last couple of seasons, but I think you just adapt.
“When you’re part of the squad you help other players around you, train well and try and set an example and add your voice to meetings in the dressing room. If you’re called upon you have to be ready to play at your best.”
After making 105 England appearances - 10 short of David Beckham’s record for an outfield player - Lampard is a leading figure in the dressing room, and already seems to be preparing for the transition like Gary Neville from the squad to the coaching staff.
Consulting players is an important tool of management, according to Lampard, who may have been released by Chelsea after scoring a club record 211 goals but is not ready to retire from playing.
“Any dictator of a manager who doesn’t want to listen, it’s quite difficult to work with, in the modern day you have to interact,” Lampard said as he sat alongside 19-year-old Raheem Sterling.
Interaction in the dressing room is also imperative after a setback such as the Italy game, the first time England had opened the World Cup with a loss since 1986. Lampard tried to raise the spirits of the players, delivering a speech after the impressive performance, but ultimately unsuccessful Italy opener.
“We had to put the game to bed,” he said. “There were a lot of good reports and rightly so but I don’t want to part of a team which had great potential and played a good performance but then we all go home (early). Nobody wants to do that.”
Lampard knows only too well that making a losing start to a tournament isn’t always a calamity. He was in the England team that opened the 2004 European Championship by losing to France but still reached the quarterfinals.
“I was so scared of getting knocked out by losing the game. I remember the fear factor - not a negativity fear, but I just didn’t want it to happen,” Lampard recalled. “There’s nothing wrong with that. I think we have to take that with us now to the Uruguay game.
“We don’t want to go home. We’ve got an exciting team here. We’ve got to attack this game and try to get the right result.”
Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris