LAMPARD’S ENGLAND PRIDE

l Midfielder relishing the chance to captain side
l No plans to retire from international football
l Wilshere tipped to shine against Denmark

ENGLAND midfielder Frank Lampard insists captaining the side for the first time tonight against Denmark will represent one of the proudest moments of his stellar career.

The 32-year-old, a veteran of 83 caps and three major tournaments, will wear the armband in the absence of Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard.

The plans of manager Fabio Capello have been hindered severely ahead of an awkwardly timed friendly as a result of a number of high-profile withdrawals. But despite his prominent role in Chelsea’s three-pronged quest for honours, Lampard insists his desire to represent his country remains as strong as ever.

He said: “It is great to be captain. It is a huge honour personally, one I’ve been hanging around a long time for. I am very proud and it is one to tell the kids and the grandchildren about.

“My appetite for England is as great as ever and it always will be until the day they don’t want me or the day it becomes clear I’m not good enough anymore.

“I will always be available for England. Some people talk about retiring but I’m thinking how many more years can I play and I’ll always have that mindset.”

Lampard will line-up in midfield alongside Arsenal’s precocious teenager Jack Wilshere, whose rapid emergence this season could accelerate Lampard’s slide towards the international retirement the Chelsea star maintains isn’t on his agenda.

Wilshere, 19, is set to make his first senior start tonight and Lampard expects the elegant left-footer to be a fixture for years to come.

He said: “I’m looking forward to it. He is a top, top young player. You see him at Arsenal and you don’t even want to call him a young player anymore because he looks established. You can see at 19 he has got what it takes.”

And those sentiments were echoed by Capello, who believes Wilshere represents the very best of England’s new breed.

He said: “Some players I monitored during this period, who are with the Under-21s, are good but they not ready to play with us. Wilshere will be a really important player. Jack Wilshere represents the very best of the young players. He has played with a lot of confidence.”