Lampard: Rooney injury is a good opportunity

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England midfielder Frank Lampard believes Wayne Rooney's injury gives other players the chance to shine in the final World Cup qualifier against Belarus at Wembley on Wednesday.

Rooney pulled out of the final game of England's qualification campaign with a calf injury but Lampard believes that England's loss could benefit another member of the squad.

Lampard said of Rooney: "He's obviously a good player, he's been in fantastic form. He's been the player of our campaign for sure, but it's quite nice for us to have to get along without him."

He added: "There are other good players waiting for a chance. If we can see other players coming through then it's a good thing for us."

Chelsea midfielder Lampard has backed Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, whose mistake led to the situation which saw goalkeeper Robert Green sent off in the 1-0 defeat away to Ukraine on Saturday.

Ferdinand has come in for criticism for his performance, but Lampard has backed him to prove his worth during the World Cup finals in South Africa next summer alongside Chelsea's John Terry in the centre of defence.

Lampard said: "Rio's consistency, along with John, in the last four or five years puts them right at the top in centre-halves for me.

"It's unfortunate that there seem to be players taking stick at any one time. We need to get behind players, and Rio is certainly a big player. He's been fantastic for such a long time.

"When the big game comes you need big players, and Rio will deliver then."

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John Terry
Premier League
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney
Robert Green
Rio Ferdinand

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