Lampard says Arsenal and Man United youngsters are fearless
12:08 10 September 2012
Frank Lampard believes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the rest of the current crop of young England players play with “no fear” compared to when he began his international career more than a decade ago.
The Chelsea midfielder is impressed by the way the Arsenal winger and Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley slotted seamlessly into the national set-up.
Lampard also points to a freshness about the squad thanks to the young blood being mixed with the core of experienced players ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier with Ukraine at Wembley.
He said: “I have certainly noticed that younger players are getting more of a chance compared to when I first got in the squad.
“Maybe there was a case then of going with the tried and trusted and that is understandable because results are at a premium for England managers.
“I think we have a crop of players now who play with less fear than we did when we came through.
“Even though Tom Cleverley has not played many games, the games he has played are with Manchester United in the Champions League and Team GB at the Olympics.
“It means players such as Tom and Alex are much more capable or arriving on the scene at such a young age.
“The good thing about those two is they are good players but they take it very easily and don’t seem fazed at all. They are very confident without being bullish or arrogant about it.
“We have talked about it before but confidence is such a huge part of the game and when your confident is down as a team and an individual, you can’t play at your top level.
“We all know you are in the spotlight when you play for your country and there are going to be times when you have ups and downs. That is natural.”
Lampard admits to enjoying mixing with the younger brigade of players.
He said: “I know it is commonly said that this is the best spirit we have had, but there is a nice freshness about the young boys at meal times and around the hotel.
“I actually enjoy mixing with them, it makes me feel a bit younger when you mix together.
“There is a relationship between that good atmosphere at meal times and going on the pitch and the more we can improve that, the better.
“The young players always give that free spirited attitude which is nice as well.
“When you have been there a long time...cynical is not the right word, but you know the ups and downs of it. These boys are playing for fun.”
Lampard is back at the forefront of England’s plans at the age of 34 but happy to pass onto advice to the crop of emerging talent.
He said: “I do have little words when I can, like with Oxlade-Chamberlain, particularly in the build-up to a game.
“In the warm-up on the pitch the other night in Moldova, you’d say things to them and I would happily sit and talk at dinner about the ups and downs and the good and bad sides of playing for England.
“I was actually saying, first and foremost, to keep running at his full-back because I knew he had the pace and power to get behind and then, when he beat him, to look for me on the cut-back.”