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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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Benitez backing for Lampard

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez believes Frank Lampard still has the ability to play at the top level after another goalscoring performance at the weekend.

Lampard netted Chelsea's third in their 4-1 win over Wigan Athletic on Saturday, taking his tally for the season to 11 in 13 Premier League starts.

Benitez continues to sidestep questions over Lampard's future, with the player out of contract in the summer and as yet no sign of a new deal being signed. But he did say the 34-year-old could still offer something for England at the World Cup next summer, should Roy Hodgson's team qualify.

Asked if Lampard could play in Brazil, Benitez said: "Yes, I think so. He is a good professional. If he has no injuries he can still play at a good level."

Benitez also praised David Luiz for his displays in a midfield role which has given Lampard extra licence to get forward.

"When he (Lampard) has a holding midfielder it's easier for him to go forward," Benitez added. "David Luiz can give you balance in the middle. He understands the role.

"He knows Lampard and Ramires are players who like to go forward, so to have a player like Luiz who can stay in the middle is important for him and also for the centre-backs because they are more protected.

"His quality in possession is really good. He's a player that can see the game and pass the ball with pace. He can still improve his shooting - but he is doing well."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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