Football

Lampard: Rooney key for England

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Rooney is set to return against Ukraine (©GettyImages)
Rooney is set to return against Ukraine (©GettyImages).

Frank Lampard believes the return of Wayne Rooney gives England a real chance of success at Euro 2012.

The Chelsea star missed out on a place in Roy Hodgson's England squad after picking up a niggling thigh injury, but Lampard insists Rooney's infectious enthusiasm will inspire his teammates to glory in Ukraine and Poland.

England take on co-hosts Ukraine on Tuesday, with Rooney expected to slot straight back into the starting 11 having served his two-game suspension. And Lampard hailed the Manchester United striker's unique ability to decide games on his own.

"Wayne has a different approach to the game," said Lampard. "He has ability in bundles and he influences the game in a lot of different areas. He can drop deep, break wide and he can cut inside. He is a real asset in helping keep possession. And now he is coming back for us at the perfect time."

A draw against Ukraine will be enough to send England into the quarter-finals, and the return of Rooney will most likely see either Andy Carroll or Danny Welbeck drop to the bench.

Both scored well-taken goals against Sweden, but Welbeck is expected to get the start having played with Rooney at club level. The two Manchester United strikers have built up a strong understanding during their time at Old Trafford, and England boss Roy Hodgson could make use of their relationship to get a positive result against the Ukrainians.

And Lampard believes the confidence that Rooney brings to his own game will rub off on his teammates when they take to the field on Tuesday evening.

"You see him [Rooney] play with that air of confidence, that Rooney swagger and that makes a huge difference to you, too," said Lampard. "His style, his attitude can lift you and help you deal with the pressure and the tension. That's how important he is for England."

Topics:
Internationals
Football
Chelsea
Danny Welbeck
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney
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