Chelsea duo Gary Cahill and Frank Lampard have been looking ahead to England’s forthcoming World Cup qualifiers as Roy Hodgson’s side bid to secure their place at next summer’s tournament in Brazil.
The Three Lions currently trail group leaders Montenegro by two points, albeit having played a game less, and cannot afford any slip-ups going into the final four games.
Cahill, who will partner Phi Jagielka at the heart of the defence against Moldova tonight, is looking forward to returning to a pressurised environment for the national side.
‘We’ve had a few friendlies where we’ve been able to work on things, and although the results do matter, they don’t matter in another sense,’ he told Chelsea TV. ‘It’s crunch time now; these are important matches, big games and ones we’re looking to do well in.’
Lampard, meanwhile, is one of the most experienced members of the squad, and his goalscoring threat from midfield could play a pivotal role in whether or not England progress.
Having already represented his country at two World Cups (2006 and 2010), the Blues midfielder knows what is required during the latter stages of a qualifying campaign.
Barring a catastrophe, England should have too much quality for Moldova at Wembley. As Lampard explained, however, the game away in Ukraine next week, with only a point between the two teams, will tell us a lot more about the capabilities of Hodgson’s side.
‘We’ve got four games to go now and we need to go into them with the mentality to win them,’ he explained.
‘Ukraine’s a very tough game; we played them a few years ago in the group stages and lost 1-0. We managed to get a result at the Euros, but we played them at Wembley earlier in the group and they were good. They have a lot of good young players and it will be very tough.
‘But we’re a good team as well so we need to go there confident in ourselves.’
Should Lampard feature in both matches, he will become only the eighth player to reach the 100-cap mark for England, joining a list which includes club team-mate Ashley Cole, and Cahill is hopeful the 35-year-old will become the latest member of an exclusive group.
‘Let’s hope he does then (play in both matches), because he certainly deserves it,’ said Cahill.
Hodgson himself sees no reason as to why Lampard cannot reach the 100-cap mark over the course of the coming days.
‘Lampard could certainly get to 100 caps in these games,’ added the England manager. ‘There is no reason he won’t be considered for the Ukraine game, but we will see what happens against Moldova. We have to see how people play and their fitness before we pick a team for Ukraine.’