Lampard: England can learn from Olympic heroes

As the veteran makes his return with England he claims that the squad could learn from the example set by the athletes participating at the Games in London this summer
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has conceded that the England squad could learn from the example set by athletes at the Olympic Games as they prepare for their friendly against Italy.

Wednesday's game is the last chance that Roy Hodgson's team have to experiment prior to the World Cup qualifiers that begin in September against Moldova and Ukraine.

The behaviour of footballers has come under fire following the positive experience over two weeks in London and the Chelsea veteran has admitted that lessons could be taken from the Games.

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"I don't know if it's fair or not that football seems to be getting a bit of a kicking," Lampard told The Sun.

"Sure, we know we have our failures in the sport. But we're not the only ones.

"The Olympics went especially well. The contestants, the atmosphere, the interaction of different countries together in one place, it was great to see.

"If we can all take a lesson from that, every one of us, then we will have all learned a good lesson. It was great to be there and to sample the sort of happy atmosphere you don’t always get at football matches. It was very refreshing.

"The whole ethos of the Olympics is the taking part bit. Of course, you want to win your medals but it's the commitment that really hits you. How can you not appreciate a rower who gets up at five every morning for four years for one event?

"When you hear the athletes speak, after winning or losing, they're very humble people. We can all take that on board. I'm not picking on individuals at all. It's a group thing.

"Sure, it's natural to compare football and the Olympics. But they are totally different things, poles apart.

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"At the Olympics you don't get shouted at by opposition fans. You don't get the hostile atmosphere. People aren't turning up hoping to see you make a mistake. And, remember, all this is happening both on and off the pitch.

"But that's why football is so special. We love it for what it is. If you took that away, it wouldn’t be the same.

"In football, we're all born with our allegiances. It's tribal. It's almost a religion for the people who watch and we take the ups and downs in different ways. The ups are great, the downs are difficult. To a point, that's the beauty of the game."

The 34-year-old went on to state that he feels there have been some positive changes in and around the England camp since Roy Hodgson has taken charge.

"I think there is now a better relationship even with you guys in the press, a relationship that had broken down at times," he opined. "Purely from watching the Euros, I think people and the public back home related to that new feel.

"Sure, right now the Olympics is top of the agenda. But soon it will be back to normal and let's just make sure we use what we have learned."