Hodgson hails 'superb' Lampard

Former Chelsesa man Frank Lampard earned 106 caps for England

Former Chelsesa man Frank Lampard earned 106 caps for England

First published in National Sport © by

Frank Lampard has become the last member of England's 'golden generation' to retire from international football with the midfielder hailed as a "superb representative" by national team manager Roy Hodgson.

The announcement by Lampard, 36, comes as little surprise after his change of clubs this summer, and brings down the curtain on a fine England career that began 15 years ago in 1999 and ended at the World Cup in Brazil in June.

The former Chelsea midfielder said the decision had been a tough one, but that his new club career with Major League Soccer side New York City - and his current loan spell at Manchester City - had persuaded him the time was right after winning 106 caps and scoring 29 goals for his country.

England manager Hodgson said: "Frank Lampard has been a superb representative of the English game - both as a player on the pitch and an ambassador off it.

"To reach in excess of 100 international caps is something very few professionals achieve and he is in exalted company.

"He has served the national team quite brilliantly during his 15-year international career. It is with regret that I accept and understand the decision he's made."

Lampard made his final England performance in the World Cup against Costa Rica, and he follows Steven Gerrard in announcing his retirement.

He said in a statement: "I have taken the decision to retire from international football. It has been a very tough decision for me to make which is why I have given it so much thought since the World Cup.

"Due to my club career now going in a different direction it is of utmost importance for me to consider my family first - also, to concentrate on how I can perform consistently to the best of my abilities over my next few years in club football."

Lampard was part of a generation of hugely-talented young English players who emerged during the late 1990s - David Beckham, Gerrard, Michael Owen, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Gary Neville and Sol Campbell were among the others.

The closest that group came to securing major honours came at Euro 2004, when they were knocked out on penalties by hosts Portugal in the quarter-finals despite having dominated the game.

They also departed at the same stage at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, the last time England made the last-eight of a major tournament.

No one doubted the abilities of such a talented midfield, but successive managers struggled to accommodate Lampard, Gerrard and Scholes and one of them was often detailed to operate on the left, a tactic which rarely worked.

Lampard's talent for scoring goals set him apart - no other midfielder has scored more for England and that talent was recognised by Gary Lineker, who paid tribute to him as "a fine player, an outstanding finisher and a credit to the game of football".

Only an appalling decision by an assistant referee at the 2010 World Cup denied Lampard joining the ranks of those players who have scored 30 goals for England.

Lampard's disallowed goal against Germany, despite clearly crossing the line, may however turn out to be his greatest legacy to international football: it was the incident that caused FIFA president Sepp Blatter to perform a U-turn and usher in goal-line technology.

Lampard said changes in youth development in English football now promised much.

He said: "It is now the time to move forward and I feel very confident that, with Roy Hodgson in charge, the young players that we have coming through and the changes that are being made throughout the development of the youth system in this country, we will have success in the future and a team that this country deserves.

"I would like to thank all the managers that I have worked under, all the players that I have been fortunate enough to play alongside, and all the England fans for their support, not only at home, but particularly on their travels with the team around the world.

"I now look forward to continuing to support the team as a fan and wish them every success for the upcoming campaign towards France 2016."

Hodgson said he had not tried to persuade Lampard to change his mind.

"I've been aware since discussions in Brazil that Frank was considering his England future. I spoke to him since his loan to Manchester City about the possibility of him retiring, primarily due to the fact that he's taken on new commitments both here and abroad," he said.

"I know it's not a decision he's taken lightly and, as with Steven Gerrard's decision, I promised Frank that I would accept his choice with good grace and not try to change his mind."

Lampard is the joint sixth most-capped player in England history, level with Sir Bobby Charlton, while his 29 England goals puts him joint ninth on the list of scorers.

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