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Aug 14, 2012

Lampard handed England armband

Roy Hodgson has confirmed that Frank Lampard will captain England against Italy on Wednesday.

• Walcott ruled out of Italy friendly

Lampard, who missed the Three Lions' Euro 2012 campaign with a thigh injury, will wear the armband when he returns to the international fold in Berne - and with the likes of Steven Gerrard, John Terry and Wayne Rooney all rested, the Chelsea midfielder was the natural choice to skipper England as they take on the side that ended their European Championship hopes.

"We missed [Lampard], if you got players of Frank Lampard's quality, then it is important that they play," Hodgson said. "We had the same situation with Gareth Barry so we lost two very important members of our central midfield just before we travelled to Poland.

"But at least now Frank is back, and now we have the added bonus that Michael Carrick, who was not available for the Euros because we were told not to consider him, luckily he has reconsidered and I have got yet another quality player."

Hodgson refused to disclose whether it would be Jack Butland or John Ruddy who would make their England debut in goal following the withdrawal of first-choice keeper Joe Hart.

With both sides restricted to six substitutes each, Hodgson has not yet decided whether to use the match as a chance to check out both keepers.

When pressed on who would start the match in goal, Hodgson replied: "I can't say that because I haven't actually spoken to the players. I haven't even given them an indication of who is playing unless they try to read my mind during the training sessions and see how people line up there.

"As far as Jack and John, they're pretty much neck and neck for a place in the team and I'm still to decide whether I just choose one or whether possibly we have enough substitutes to enable me to give each of them a game.

"And that wouldn't be wrong and if we didn't have the restrictions on substitutes I could tell you now. But I have to be a little more careful when you can only use six."

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