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I can play with Gerrard, Lampard insists

Frank Lampard sees no reason why he and Steven Gerrard should not be able to forge a formidable partnership at the heart of England's midfield.

Manager Fabio Capello is believed to be considering re-uniting fit-again Liverpool captain Gerrard with the Chelsea star for the World Cup qualifier against minnows Kazakhstan at Wembley on Saturday.

It would be a change in policy for the Italian, who utilised Aston Villa's Gareth Barry alongside Lampard to great effect in the 4-1 victory against Croatia in Zagreb.

Despite the duo rarely seeming to work well together in the past - although each appeared to thrive when playing individually for England - Capello knows if his team are to reach South Africa 2010 and then progress to the latter stages then getting the best out of the world-class pair could prove key.

Lampard insisted players of their calibre should be able to find a solution which works.

"We both have not played as well for England as we have for our clubs, particularly over the last two seasons,'' he said.

"I think if we had done, we probably would have qualified for the Euros, but we haven't.

"It's something to work on and for the manager to decide the best way forward. I would like to think it can work.

"I don't think we are stupid players and I don't think we are egotistical. We both care passionately about playing for our country, and we both want to play well.

"It certainly should work in theory and it is up to us to make it work.

"When you look at how we both play for our clubs, if we can play somewhere near to that level that would be a bonus for England.''

The 30-year-old Chelsea midfielder feels the new coaching regime, appointed after Steve McClaren's failure to qualify for Euro 2008, might just give the partnership the chance to finally come together effectively.

"Maybe we are in a better environment for it to improve now,'' he said.

"I am not saying we didn't train hard before, but there is a lot more emphasis on the tactical work now.

"We will be doing a double training session tomorrow and there will be a lot of work put into these things.''

Lampard added: "In the past we probably did just discuss it in the dressing room and say 'If one sees the other go, they stay back'.

"But there's no better environment to learn than with Capello and the way we are working now.

"Maybe now it is just a matter of time - although let's hope it's not too long because we are not getting any younger.''

Lampard, however, feels talk over whether or not he and Gerrard can play in the same side must not overshadow the bigger picture.

"From the outside, we have to stop worrying about individual players,'' he said.

"England as a team can get criticised for playing as individuals, but then the critics break it down into looking at individuals.

"What we need to do now is to look at the team. We might play against Kazakhstan and win 3-0, and people might say 'Frank Lampard didn't play as well as he did for his club and Steven Gerrard did', or the other way round.

"That shouldn't be so much the issue. Really now we have to get back to basics as a group.''

Lampard has found a new lease of life under Luiz Felipe Scolari at Stamford Bridge, with club form having a positive impact on his England role.

In Zagreb the Chelsea midfielder revealed he had been asked to play "in a pretty disciplined way'', which came off as both Walcott and Joe Cole - out this weekend because of a foot injury - made the most of their new-found freedom.

"I try to do the best job I can in that position,'' Lampard said.

"It's about the team and if that means restricting the way you normally get forward for your club then you have to try to do that.

"I wasn't asked to hold, I was asked to play in a pretty disciplined way.

"I think it's pretty obvious when you play with Theo Walcott, Joe Cole and two strikers and you go to a place like Croatia where they can knock the ball about it, if you leave Gareth Barry on his own in midfield you are going to get exposed.

"That's the way it started and as the game wore on and they went down to 10 men we took more control and we had more chances to get forward, but you have to take each game as it comes.''


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