sport

Lampard focused on England

Frank Lampard is looking forward to captaining England in their pre-World Cup friendly against Ecuador on Wednesday after hinting his days as an international player are coming to an end.

Lampard will wear the armband in Miami's Sun Life Stadium as England play their penultimate friendly before heading to Brazil.

The spotlight has been on the 35-year-old for the last 24 hours after it was confirmed his 13-year stay at Chelsea is over - he leaves as a free agent and has reportedly received interest from more than a dozen teams.

But Lampard is keen to ensure his focus remains on international matters for now, with his next challenge coming against a tough South American opponent that also qualified for the World Cup.

Coach Roy Hodgson confirmed Lampard would lead his team - expected to include a number of changes from the one that beat Peru last Friday - to cap what has been a big few days for him.

"I'm proud to be captain tomorrow and looking forward to the game," said Lampard, who will be winning his 104th cap.

"I'm here now to concentrate on being with England. It was a relief to say it last night and now I personally, and the team, can focus on the game.

"I think you do have to play a different game in these sort of humid conditions.

"I'm really impressed with what Roy and his staff have done - they've tried to cover every base, which gives us no excuses! We all have to adapt but I do feel the acclimatisation helps. Italy have to get used to the conditions too.

"We know about individuals like (Antonio) Valencia but for us it's more about getting used to the different styles of football we'll face at the World Cup.

"Ecuador's strength is in their wingers but we're concentrating more on ourselves - the positives we can take, the improvements we can make.

"We're all aware of the injury issue but as players, do you try to stay away from being injured - and maybe get injured in the process - or do you play positively as you normally do?

"We're careful in training, even though we train very hard, but come the matches, we'll just try and play well individually and as a team and fingers crossed we're all fit and on the plane."

Lampard hinted the World Cup might be his international swansong but, whatever happens in the future, he hopes it will be a summer he can remember for the right reasons.

Asked whether the tournament might mark the end of his England career, he added: "It looks that way. It is hard. I find it hard to get the words out to say that it is because I am very proud to play for my country and I've loved every minute.

"So who knows what will happens and I'd rather comment on that after, to be honest. We'll see.

"Let's hope we have a big, successful World Cup and then I will comment on that afterwards."