Lampard: Lack of expectancy can aid England

Frank Lampard believes that Roy Hodgson’s team can convert lack of pressure and public expectation into success at Euro 2012.

England have endured a difficult build-up to the European Championship with Hodgson losing several of his key players, including Gary Cahill, Gareth Barry and Lampard, to injuries just weeks before the tournament.

Lampard injured his thigh during training, causing Hodgson to replace the 33-year-old with Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson.

Hodgson will now have to field a weakened team in England’s first Group D game against Laurent Blanc’s France side, who come into Euro 2012 on a 21-match unbeaten streak.

However, Lampard insists that despite all of the obstacles that England have faced and will face in the coming weeks, the Three Lions should try to imitate Chelsea’s surprise Champions League victory by succeeding in Poland and Ukraine.

Lampard told Absolute Radio: “It is a very tough group, and a wise man said at some stage that the Euros are harder than the World Cup, because in the World Cup you get a couple of teams that you should beat, Trinidad and Tobago or something.

"The Euros is straight in, and if you don’t get your first result in the first couple of games then you can be going home.

"One bonus for us is that there is all of this negative feel about the squad selection, about suspensions, about the manager coming in. It maybe gives us a different angle to what we’ve had before.

"Normally we go in thinking we’re going to win things and it might just take the pressure off a little bit.

"You know what it’s like in football, Chelsea have done it, we had no chance of beating Barcelona and we did it."

England will be without Rooney for the first two games against France and Sweden through suspension, after the 26-year-old received a red card for kicking Miodrag Dzudovic during England’s 2-2 draw in Montenegro last year.

Although Rooney’s actions in England’s final Euro 2012 qualifier will leave Hodgson without his star striker, Lampard has praised the Manchester United forward as one of the most talented players to have worn the England shirt.

When asked who he thought was one of the best players to have represented the Three Lions, Lampard said: “Rooney, for different positions.

“I was amazed by his ability in 2004. He came into the team as a 17 or 18-year-old and I’ve never seen someone come into a position to make it easier for you to receive the ball so well.

“He shows incredible ability with this bulldozer style that he’s got. He is a completely special talent but when you look at the squad as a whole, I could go through the team. Stevie G [Steven Gerrard] of course is a fantastic player," he added.

Listen to live Euro 2012 commentary on Absolute Radio on 105.8 FM, 1215AM, DAB, online, mobile and digital TV -

By Vaishali Bhardwaj