No retirement in Lampard’s plans

Lampard is no longer an automatic choice for his country – a

scenario he also briefly encountered earlier in the campaign at

Chelsea before bouncing back with a vengeance. The Euro 2012 finals

could realistically represent the last major finals for Lampard who

will be 36 by the time of the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. But,

in the same way as David Beckham has said he will never formally

retire from international football, Lampard is thinking along the

same lines. He said: “I don’t completely accept it (Euro 2012) is

my last tournament. By saying that, I’ve certainly not made up my

mind up to pull out of contention post-Euros. “I’m certainly very

realistic. If I feel that it’s beyond me to carry on playing, that

it’s detrimental to myself at Chelsea and I’m not offering enough

to England, then I’ll make that decision. “I won’t accept that yet,

but I understand that Brazil is a long way away for me,

personally.” But, when asked if he thinking along the same lines as

Beckham, Lampard said: “At the moment I do. I don’t know if that’s

always how I’ll feel. “David’s situation is slightly different.

He’s been playing in America for a few years now. It’s a different

level of football and pace of football. “Probably the only time I’d

think of extracting myself out of it would be if I wasn’t getting

picked enough, and it was common knowledge. “It wouldn’t even be

worth saying it then, in a way – or if it was beneficial for me to

have breaks in mid-season and not to be playing games in the summer

time, in terms of prolonging my Chelsea career. “At the moment, I

can’t see myself retiring. When you’re younger you kind of think

you’ll maybe retire at a certain age. You see other players doing

it. “But, as I’ve got older, I’ve started to realise you’re a long

time retired. “For all the bits of help you get in terms of fitness

by not playing for England, I realise I’ll be sitting there wishing

I’d pushed that bit harder, got another 50 caps and worked that

little bit more.” Lampard is even prepared to be a squad member

next summer but only as a last resort if he is not a first choice

player. He said: “I would be prepared to – but I’d want to be in

the team. We’re all squad members to an extent. I’d want to be in

the team. But there’d be no problem. There’s no ego here telling me

that. “My only ego is me wanting to play. I do get the hump when

I’m on the bench, but not with the person who’s in the team instead

of me but because I want to play personally. “If I didn’t think I

was good enough to be playing, I wouldn’t be here. I’d say ‘don’t

bother to pick me because I wouldn’t be helping anyone’.” Lampard

was always confident he still had plenty to offer even when he fell

out of favour at Stamford Bridge and with England. He said: “I

didn’t think too far ahead. It was a difficult time for me on the

bench at Chelsea, on the bench for England for a couple of games,

and a lot was being made of it. “I wanted to get back into the team

and playing well, knowing that when I got back fit I can play as

I’ve always played. Thankfully I’ve been able to do that. “It was

about having belief in myself. I’d had a difficult season with

injury, and I’d never had a big injury before. “I suffered with

that, even when I came back to fitness. I needed to be at my best

this year.”