Eriksson was wrong to leave Defoe behind, says Lampard

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The Independent Football

Frank Lampard believes Sven Goran Eriksson made a mistake in not taking Jermain Defoe to the World Cup finals. The Swede attracted considerable flak for selecting only four strikers when both of his first-choice pairing, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen, were recovering from broken metatarsals.

The criticism was vindicated as Owen was sent home with a cruciate injury, leaving just two experienced forwards in Rooney and Peter Crouch and one, Theo Walcott, who had never played top-flight football.

Lampard said: "Questions had been asked about why we didn't have five strikers in the squad when two of our forwards went into the tournament trying to recover fitness. Personally, I'd have included Jermain as well. I played with him at West Ham and he is a natural goalscorer.

"In terms of the line-ups, I don't think they would have been affected. I'd have preferred some insurance, though. In that respect I would have taken Defoe."

Lampard also revealed his interest in captaining England, the position having been vacated by David Beckham. His Chelsea team-mate, John Terry, and Liverpool's Steven Gerrard have attracted strong support, but Lampard considers it a job to which he would be suited.

"I have had the privilege of captaining Chelsea on a few occasions in [Terry's] absence. I would love to do the same for England," Lampard says in his new book Totally Frank.

"If I was called on to lead the national team I know I would do a good job. It's more difficult than ever to be captain of England with the kind of press scrutiny that exists at all levels - everyone has an opinion about you and your life, but I know I could handle that."