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The Chelsea midfielder's future is still up in the air but he will be keen to impress in Brazil, with this summer's competition representing his last shot at international glory

Frank Lampard heads to the World Cup at something of a crossroads. Yet to sign a new contract at Chelsea, he could leave the club with whom he has become synonymous, with New York City, QPR and a number of others teams taking a keen interest in his situation.

But his mind will be fully focused on the job in hand in Brazil, as he seeks to finally taste glory on the international stage. Goal takes a look at how he is shaping up ahead of the finals.

SEASON 2013-14 ANALYSIS

With the second coming of Jose Mourinho last summer, Lampard could have been forgiven for thinking that he would be integral to the Portuguese's plans. A central part of Mourinho's early success at Chelsea, the midfielder has scored more goals under him than any other manager.

Six came this season, from 26 Premier League appearances, while he added one more in the Champions League, but he appears set to be cast aside as Mourinho seeks to reshape the team in his own image. He has been merciless so far, with David Luiz and Juan Mata both sold – for a combined £77.1m – and Ashley Cole not offered a new contract.


Lampard admits that he does not know where his future lies and the statistics show that he has lost some of his effectiveness, with the 35-year-old notching just three Premier League assists, creating a mere 34 chances and hitting the target with only 24 shots.

Yet he has done enough to be included in Roy Hodgson's squad for Brazil, though it seems unlikely that he will be able to usurp the in-form Jordan Henderson or the more youthful, energetic Jack Wilshere from the starting XI.

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A member of the fabled (cursed?) Golden Generation, Lampard made his first tournament appearance for England at Euro 2004 and immediately shined on the biggest stage. Lampard scored twice in the group stages, against France and Croatia, and equalised in extra time against Portugal to force penalties after a 2-2 draw, though Sven-Goran Eriksson's men crashed out.

And he would suffer similar pain in 2006. Despite being named man of the match in England's opening 1-0 win over Paraguay in Germany, Lampard failed to score as Portugal again knocked Eriksson's men out on penalties, with the Chelsea star missing from the spot in the shootout.

Yet the worst was still to come. Having played in all three of England's World Cup 2010 group games against USA, Algeria and Slovenia, Lampard was again named in Fabio Capello's starting XI for the round-of-16 clash with Germany. Having fallen 2-0 behind, Matthew Upson pulled a goal back before Lampard thought that he had equalised with a 25-yard effort, though the referee waved play on.

Replays showed that the ball clearly crossed the line, having struck Manuel Neuer's crossbar on its way in, but the goal did not stand and Germany went on to win 4-1. Lampard could not atone for his heartbreak at Euro 2012, with injury ruling him out, and the 2014 tournament will surely offer his last shot at redemption.

LIKELY ROLE IN THE SQUAD

With Henderson and Wilshere, plus Steven Gerrard, Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana, named in Hodgson's squad, there is a chance that Lampard may not get onto the pitch at all in Brazil. Given the heat and humidity of Manaus, it would be a surprise if he were to start against Italy, with the 35-year-old unlikely to be able to complete the 90 minutes.

Yet, should a cool head be needed, there are few better generals to have in the trenches. Lampard has captained England a number of times and can be the embodiment of a manager's instructions on the pitch. If the Three Lions are leading 1-0 with 10 minutes to go, therefore, do not be surprised to see Lampard rise from the bench, with Hodgson in favour of closing games out rather than going on the offensive and killing them off.

Lampard appears to know that the guard is changing, however, saying recently that "you know your shelf-life" and, with younger options available, it is likely that he will play a bit-part role in Brazil.



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