Hoddle: Lampard must start for England against Italy

Liverpool team-mates Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard are expected to line-up in Manuas, but the former national manager feels the 35-year-old's experience could be key
Former England manager Glenn Hoddle believes Frank Lampard should start when the Three Lions get their World Cup campaign underway against Italy.

Jordan Henderson is expected to line up alongside captain and Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard on Saturday, but Hoddle feels the Chelsea midfielder's experience is crucial to his side making a strong start.

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"Lampard is the man Roy Hodgson should turn to - we need his vast experience to ensure England make a solid start against Italy, " Hoddle wrote for williamhill.com.

"Everyone assumes Jordan Henderson will line up with Gerrard in a midfield partnership that has worked well for Liverpool.

"But I really think England need stability, experience and know-how for the start [of the match] - then [can] unleash some of the youngsters to frighten Italy in the final stages when some of their older players will be wilting.

"I would go with him to play square off Gerrard to offer as much protection to England’s back four as possible because they are going to need it ... they are going to need to dictate [in] the centre of the park.

"The Lampard-Gerrard combination has come in for an awful lot of discussion in the past.  But that was the past, when both liked to bomb forward in search of goals and they didn’t gel together.

"In Manaus it will be different.  Under the extraordinary circumstances England will encounter, Lampard’s experience is vital - from the start."

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Much has been made of Roy Hodgson's selection of youngsters like Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling, but while Hoddle has tempered expectations he feels their impact could be crucial late in games.

"The game in Manaus will hinge on how each side copes in the final 20 minutes - it is when it will be won or lost because of the conditions," he continued.

"The players are going to need to play in bursts of high tempo, there is no way they can keep it going all the time.  Five minutes of high tempo, then pace yourself, and go again for another five-minute burst.

"If you had asked me a few months ago I would have said [Jack] Wilshere was a certain starter.  It seems a long time ago that he was hailed as the great new discovery [and he] has failed to push forward in his development.

"Now we have Ross Barkley as the new rising midfield star. But Roy needs to be prudent in his first selection and cannot afford to have a rush of blood against Italy.

"[Later in the game] is the time to bring on Sterling to scare the Italians, using his pace and dribbling skills to run at their defence just as they are tiring.

"And it is the time to bring on Barkley and Wilshere, who will then have far more freedom to express themselves and make an impact with an injection of pace and energy."

Glenn Hoddle is WilliamHill.com's official World Cup blogger in Rio de Janeiro.