Hodgson hails the return of midfield men Lampard and Carrick

The England manager is happy to have two of his most experienced internationals back in the squad ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Italy
England manager Roy Hodgson has praised the returning duo of Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick and believes it was a "great pity" that they were missing from the side's Euro 2012 campaign.

The fit-again Lampard and Carrick have been called up for tomorrow's friendly in Berne against the team they lost out to in the quarter-finals of the European Championships, Italy.

Carrick's situation is much more complicated due to the fact he was unwilling to be considered as part of the squad if he was only to be used in a bit-part role.

The Manchester United midfielder was placed on the standby list but reportedly informed Hodgson he would not accept the invitation and chose to build up his fitness at the Red Devils' Carrington training base during the summer months.

Lampard, who has fully recovered from the thigh injury that rule him out of the finals, will captain his country tomorrow night in Switzerland and Hodgson is pleased to have him back.

The 65-year-old told reporters: "I missed him, of course, during the Euros. When you’ve got players of Frank Lampard’s quality, it’s a great pity that they get injured.

"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."
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Hodgson feels Carrick will strengthen what was a threadbare midfield in the Euros still further.

He added: "At least now Frank is back, and of course, the added bonus of Michael Carrick, who was not available for the Euros. Luckily he has reconsidered his decision and he’s keen to play for us, so I’ve got another quality player coming back that I didn’t have during Euro 2012."

Hodgson believes the repeat of the quarter-final in June will prove to be an attacking spectacle and expects to offer young players in the squad the chance to impress.

"Well I think both ourselves and Italy are going to go out and try to win the game - there’s no question about that.

"Both of us are approaching the game in the same way, we’re using players who were in the squad in the Euros and maybe didn’t play, and maybe trying to look at some younger players who could be useful for us in the next few years."