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Lampard set for 'very special' occasion

Frank Lampard will take centre stage in Friday's international against Chile at Wembley, as he leads England out as captain on a night when he will receive a commemorative golden cap to mark 100 appearances for his country.

Frank Lampard celebrates after levelling for England
Frank Lampard will turn 36 during the World Cup in Brazil next summer.

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Lampard played his 100th game for England against Ukraine in September, but the Football Association has chosen this occasion to mark the achievement, and he has been handed the captain's armband in the absence of Liverpool's Steven Gerrard.

The 35-year-old -- who made his England debut back in 1999 -- will be joined on the Wembley turf prior to kickoff by his two daughters, who are acting as mascots for the game, while his father Frank Snr and England 1966 World Cup hero Sir Geoff Hurst will present him with his golden cap.

"It will be very special," said Lampard. "I've seen gold caps right being given to Steven [Gerrard] and Ashley [Cole] recently and I'm very, very proud to be part of that.

"The idea of Sir Geoff being involved was an FA idea and I was very happy with that as I've had links with Sir Geoff all my life through my Dad knowing him and what an England hero he is.

"I requested by dad be involved as well [in the presentation]. It's the sort of thing he would normally shy away but with a bit of pressing he will get himself out there. Hopefully he will be a proud dad when he does."

Lampard admitted his daughters Luna and Isla are not really football fans, but he was eager to get them involved in his big night to remind them that their father has achieved huge success in national team colours.

"They are Chelsea fans and England fans and the boys in their class like talking about it, but the girls are not crazy on football," stated Lampard. "This is not normally the kind of thing I do. I normally keep it a little but more low key.

"However, you are a long time retired and they might not believe me when I am an old man telling them stories if they do not walk on the pitch and see it themselves."

Lampard accepts he faces a battle to claim a place in England's World Cup squad for next summer's trip to Brazil, as he believes the competition for places in the England ranks is positive for the future of the national team.

"We were bemoaning the fact a couple of years ago that there was no youth, no exciting players who could create chances and score goals, but we have watched them all step up now," he added.

"These young boys are coming in without any fear and really adding something to the squad. It's up to every individual to stake a claim now. There is a big gap between the next England games and we need to put everything into these two games, go back to our clubs and perform as well as we can."


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