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Nov 8, 2011

Lamps: Players must avoid controversy

Frank Lampard has reminded his Chelsea and England team-mates that it is their responsibility to avoid any controversy that might affect their performances on the pitch.

• Capello confirms Terry in squad
• Terry set to captain England
• FA to appeal Rooney ban

Lampard is expected in some quarters to replace club team-mate Terry as captain of England when they face Spain at Wembley on Saturday, as the central defender continues to be embroiled in a controversial race row after alleged comments he made in the direction of QPR's Anton Ferdinand.

Lampard has reminded players that they need to do all they can to avoid getting caught in such situations, but believes ultimately what is important is to continue to do your job on the pitch.

"You have to get used to off-field situations like this - it comes with the territory of playing for a top club like Chelsea and representing England," Lampard said. "What you need to do is try and keep out of whatever controversy it is.

"You must remember it's what matters on the pitch that's the most important. That's what most people react to and that's what I will keep trying to do for club and country."

After an underwhelming start to the new season, Lampard has come to the fore for Andre Villas-Boas's men in recent times - scoring six goals in his last eight matches. He now believes he is in some of the best form of his life.

"I'm the first to admit that sometimes it may take me a few games to hit top form in a season but I'm right on it this year," he said. "I've worked hard to get my sharpness and touch just right. And now I couldn't be in better shape football wise."

That hasn't stopped him becoming a curious case for Fabio Capello, however, as he has started just one of England's last three games and been told he is no longer an automatic first-choice option for the Three Lions. Despite that, the 33-year-old insists he will never retire from international football.

"England will always matter so much to me," he noted. "It doesn't matter if I'm played sporadically, on the bench or simply in the squad. I will always be there if selected."

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