sport

Experience is vital - Martinez

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez believes the depth of experience Frank Lampard brings is a vital ingredient for any successful team.

However, the Spaniard admits without youthful endeavour surrounding those elder statesmen it is often difficult to progress.

Lampard, who came off the bench to score England's winner in the friendly against Brazil, seems destined to leave Chelsea at the end of the season.

The midfielder, who turns 35 in June, has not been offered a new contract by the Londoners and with his current deal expiring at the end of the campaign it seems likely he will leave Stamford Bridge - much to the annoyance of many fans.

"Experience is a big word and it is very difficult, in football terms, to describe it," said Martinez, whose side face Chelsea on Saturday.

"Experience in football is one of the most important ingredients in a successful team.

"You need experience during a game so you know what to expect, how to affect that game.

"Experience allows you to get positive results when you play well.

"That is something that Frank Lampard brings - he knows when to make forward runs, he knows when to score goals, when to stop games and when to affect players around him."

Lampard's age appears to have counted against him and Martinez can appreciate that there comes a time when a squad has to be freshened up.

"Experience is very important to have in a squad but you need a happy balance," he added.

"You cannot have a too ageing squad and you cannot have too young a squad but experience without legs doesn't take you anywhere and you need that bravery of youth surrounding experience."

Some clubs, like Liverpool, are actively pursuing a policy of signing only young players who are likely to have a good re-sale value.

But Martinez does not believe there has been a significant shift in the way sides are currently recruiting.

"I don't think there has been a trend or change of way of planning squads," he added.

"I think all the squads need balance of youth and experience.

"I think Frank Lampard's situation is quite unique but I think in general there is a real understanding of how important experience is in the squad and how important it is to give our youngsters an opportunity.

"All the changes with the development of a younger players shows that but I wouldn't say there has been a change in how to approach the older generation."