Benitez backs Lampard for World Cup 2014

The Chelsea manager believes the veteran midfielder is good enough to earn a place in Roy Hodgson's squad for the next major tournament despite doubts over his future in England
Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has backed Frank Lampard to make Roy Hodgson's England squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Lampard is the Blues' top scorer in the Premier League this season having netted on 11 occasions, but is set to become a free agent in the summer upon the expiry of his current contract.

The 34-year-old has been heavily linked with clubs in the United States, despite England boss Roy Hodgson admitting that a switch to MLS could "complicate" his international involvement.

However, when asked if Lampard could feature at the next World Cup, Benitez replied: "Yes, I think so. He is a good professional. If he has no injuries he can still play at a good level."

Benitez also claimed that Lampard, who scored the winning goal for England against Brazil in midweek, has benefited from playing alongside converted midfielder David Luiz.

"When [Lampard] has a holding midfielder it's easier for him to go forward," he reflected. "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.

"[Luiz]'s 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."

Chelsea recorded a comfortable 4-1 victory over Wigan at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and Benitez singled out Fernando Torres for praise despite the striker's failure to end his Premier League goal drought.

The Spain international laid on the opening goal for Ramires but has now not scored in the top flight since the 8-0 thrashing of Aston Villa on December 23.

"He looked sharp," Benitez said of the Spain international. "He was very influential also in our attack. He was very unlucky at the end because it was good save by the 'keeper. He did a good job for the team."