England captain John Terry has voiced his full support for dropped midfielder Frank Lampard.
An injury-free Lampard was left out of a competitive England starting XI for the first time since 2007 with a midfield trio of Scott Parker, Gareth Barry and Ashley Young preferred for the 3-0 Euro 2012 qualifier win over Bulgaria last Friday.
There have been suggestions that Lampard’s exclusion could be the beginning of the end of the 33-year-old’s international career, but his Chelsea team-mate Terry has issued a warning to the doubters.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s meeting with Wales at Wembley, Terry said: “Write Frank Lampard off at your peril. I have known him an awful long time and he was disappointed about not starting but trained incredibly hard the day after and he remains one of the best players I have ever played with.
“Because of his age people tend to write him off but he is still in excellent form. His record for England has been incredible.”
Terry revealed all of England’s established names are aware that there are a number of players now vying for a starting role in the set-up.
He said: “I think we all feel that in the squad, that has come in conjunction with the younger players really pushing on and playing well for their club sides. People said we maybe took it for granted, playing in the side, but that has never been the case since I have been involved for England.
“It is a great mixture in the squad and I think Frank will rise to the occasion and will be back in the side very soon. We saw the other night Chris Smalling did well and Gary Cahill alongside me. Its not just Frank, we all feel pressure from the younger players for our places.”