Lampard backs Cole credentials
Chelsea's Frank Lampard believes that club team-mate Joe Cole deserves a place at the World Cup.
Last Updated: 28/01/10 4:24pm
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard believes that club team-mate Joe Cole deserves a place in Fabio Capello's England squad for the World Cup.
Playmaker Cole produced a Man of the Match performance in the Blues' swaggering victory over Birmingham on Wednesday and assisted Florent Malouda's opener in the 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
Cole, who is in contract negotiations with Chelsea, was at the heart of his side's dominance in arguably his best display since returning from a serious knee injury.
Lampard scored twice in the demolition of Birmingham, but the England regular acknowledged the contribution of his colleague and believes they should both be in South Africa this summer.
"I hope Joe gets called up by England. He deserves it for the hard work he's put in," said Lampard.
"The England manager knows how good a player he is, like everyone at Chelsea does. If Joe keeps playing the way he is for Chelsea, he will have a great chance.
"He's getting sharper and sharper. Joe's that one player who injects that bit of brilliance where he can beat a man out of nowhere.
"He had a very bad injury and people expected him to come straight back in but it's not possible. He has worked harder than anyone and now we're seeing the benefits of it. He's only going to get better."
Chelsea's victory over Birmingham put them one point clear of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League, and victory at Burnley on Saturday plus a win against Hull City the following week could open a six-point lead at the summit.
"If we open up that gap again it'll be great." added Lampard. "Those little mental things are great during the season. It's great to be back on top."
Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba could return from African Cup of Nations duty at Burnley, but Lampard does not believe the striker has been drastically missed.
"We didn't say we'd struggle this month, everyone else did," added the midfielder. "We have a lot of belief. I just think the loss of Didier was talked about too much."