FRANK Lampard has revealed the pride he still feels playing for England at the age of 34 and how his father was a key figure in ensuring he didn’t quit his country when public enemy one with supporters.
It was not so long ago that Lampard was booed when his name was read out by the Wembley announcer, or whenever he touched the ball as he was targeted by a group of fans. But Lampard, with the aid of advice from father Frank Lampard senior, kept making himself available and his international career has now turned full circle.
He has twice been voted England’s player of the year and his two goals against Moldova on Friday evening means he is on the verge of becoming their leading midfield marksman.
Only Bryan Robson (26) and David Platt (27) are in front of Lampard (25) ahead of tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier with Ukraine at Wembley.
Lampard said: “I am very proud of my England career. With England careers, they can’t always be rosy for any player especially if you are going to get towards 100 caps.
“I am very proud of the games, the goals, the games I have been involved in. The only downside is that we have not won anything.
“That’s something we all want to put right.
“I am pleased I didn’t bail out when I was getting stick because there can be easy routes particularly when you get to 30. You are allowed to retire from that age onwards.
“I was never interested in that. Whether I carry on playing one more game or 15, I’d like to think people will say ‘he was really proud to play for his country and put in a good contribution.’
“If they say that I will be very happy.”
Lampard missed Euro 2012 through injury but it never crossed his mind that it would be an appropriate time to concentrate purely on club football.
He said: “When I got injured in the summer, it was one of those... but I never actually considered it (quitting). I haven’t got it in me.
“I’m not saying I’ll stay available to be picked forever because it becomes obvious at some stage. But it’s not my thing.
“My dad has always been a quiet advocate of playing for your country and the fact you are a long time retired, that while you feel you can contribute, do it.
“Even in those tough times, when I had a tough game, or was getting stick, my dad was adamant on me staying in the game because we are so privileged to be here.
“But I didn’t talk to him this summer as I knew the answer I’d have got - ’keep going.’”
Lampard added: “I don’t know whether I am taken for granted. I don’t believe so. I am very proud to be here.”