LONDON - Andriy Shevchenko might have had problems playing in England but will be Ukraine's main threat in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier, former Chelsea team mate Frank Lampard said on Monday. Group Six leaders England meet Ukraine in a competitive match for the first time at Wembley Stadium. England have 12 points from their opening four matches. Croatia are second with seven points from four games with unbeaten Ukraine third on seven points from three. Midfielder Lampard told a media conference at the England team hotel in Watford: "Andriy Shevchenko is a fantastic player, has always been and is now. "He will be a huge threat to us on Wednesday because he is a top player who can produce something out of the blue -- score a goal or make a goal, so I don't know why it didn't quite work out at Chelsea. "I think he had quite a few injury problems and slight problems settling in England," Lampard continued. "He was in and out of the team at certain times, so it didn't work for him for a lot of reasons, and I think only he can explain that." Shevchenko, 32, scored nine league goals in 47 appearances in two seasons at Stamford Bridge after moving from AC Milan for a fee British media reports estimated at around 30 million pounds ($42.54 million). He is now back on loan with Milan but has only started two Serie A games this season and scored two goals -- one in the Coppa Italia and the other in the UEFA Cup. However, Shevchenko is looking for a milestone 40th goal for Ukraine in his 86th international on Wednesday. Lampard also said Saturday's 4-0 friendly win over Slovakia, in which he scored England's third goal, was the perfect warm-up. "Slovakia's technical style is similar to Ukraine but I am sure Ukraine will be stronger. They will come here to get points and there will certainly be an edge to their play." Asked if they were the greatest threat to England finishing top of the group and gaining the automatic qualifying berth for the finals, Lampard said: "Possibly, especially as we still have to play them away. If we don't get the right result on Wednesday we will have a very tough game to come. "I think the group is fairly tough. Ukraine, Croatia and also Belarus now, there are a few hard teams there. "The good thing for us is that we have made a really positive start and if we win on Wednesday and win the two games coming up in the summer (away to Kazakhstan and home to Andorra), then we can put ourselves in a really strong position before the last few games."
30 March 2009
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