Lamps still ready to shine for England, says Walcott

ENGLAND’S Theo Walcott insists it is too soon to write off Frank Lampard’s international career following the Chelsea midfielder’s omission against Bulgaria.

Lampard, 33, was surprisingly left on the bench in Sofia as manager Fabio Capello’s experiment with a 4-2-3-1 formation reaped a comfortable 3-0 victory.

But Walcott believes the veteran of 87 caps remains a valuable weapon in England’s armoury as they prepare for tomorrow’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales.

“Frank is an experienced, great player,” said the Arsenal forward. “Everyone’s spot is up for grabs. There’s so much competition, with everyone playing every week for Premier League teams. You need to be on your toes and if you’re playing well the manager will pick you. Frank’s got plenty to offer still.”

Walcott is set to feature again tomorrow, where a win will move England to within one point of guaranteeing their place at next summer’s finals in Poland and Ukraine. He will also be looking to end a three-year wait for an international goal, which dates back to his hat-trick against Croatia – which remain his only England strikes – but the winger insists he is not worried.

“I’m scoring for my club,” added Walcott, who has three this season. “Hopefully I can take that to international level. It will come. A lot of players don’t score for their countries.

“Being only 22, people think I’ve been around for a long time. I’m not putting too much pressure on myself because, apart from the goals, everything else is going well.”