ENGLAND vice-captain Frank Lampard has told his young team-mates they must come of age against Costa Rica tonight and ensure they do not end their World Cup with a whimper.
Manager Roy Hodgson has made nine changes to the side that started last week’s tournament-ending defeat to Uruguay, with Chelsea defender Gary Cahill and Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge the only survivors.
Lampard will captain the team in what could be his 106th and final appearance for England, with the 36-year-old midfielder to make a decision on his international future later this summer.
Despite tonight’s contest being a dead rubber with Costa Rica certain of qualification, Lampard feels the test of character for youngsters such as 18-year-old defender Luke Shaw and Everton’s Ross Barkley, 20, makes the match vitally important.
“This is about showing the pride of wearing an England shirt, whether it’s a friendly or a game like this,” said Lampard.
“It’s been a tough few days. We came here to do better than how it’s turned out. Now we are in a situation where we have to show we’re men.
“If we can take anything from this tournament it’s been the progression behind the scenes and, hopefully a result [against Costa Rica].”
Midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will once again be missing, having suffered a set back to the knee injury that afflicted him in a pre-tournament friendly draw with Ecuador.
“Alex took part in a full session, but unfortunately was injured again when he received an awkward ball to control,” Hodgson explained. “He twisted his knee and therefore is out of the match.”
Team to play Costa Rica
Ben Foster; Phil Jones, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw; Frank Lampard, Jack Wilshere; James Milner, Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana; Daniel Sturridge