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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 June, 2004, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
Lampard lures Gerrard
By Phil McNulty
Our man with England

England midfielders Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard celebrate
Frank Lampard would like fellow England midfielder Steven Gerrard to join him at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are understood to be closing in on a 31m deal for Liverpool's skipper after chief Rick Parry revealed Gerrard is considering his Anfield future.

"Steven Gerrard is a fantastic player," Lampard said. "I think our partnership works really well.

"He is another one Chelsea are in for and any player who strengthens our squad and team will be welcome."

Gerrard and Lampard have played alongside each other in both of England's Euro 2004 matches.

The pair have also got a goal apiece, laying aside fears they would not be able to express their attacking qualities as part of the same midfield.

"I think it helps that we are both similar," said Lampard.

"We're both attacking players but I hope we're clever enough to instinctively know who is going to sit back while the other goes forward."

Rooney really is fearless - but we have to be careful we don't put too much pressure on him
Frank Lampard on Wayne Rooney

Chelsea have also been linked with a move to Euro 2004's new superstar Wayne Rooney if Everton decide to cash in on the 18-year-old.

Rooney will not be playing European football next season if he stays at Everton, but England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson insisted that was not compulsory.

He said: "He is where he is and has been playing for Everton and not in Europe.

"I don't think it is absolutely necessary but I suppose his agents will be getting lots of phone calls, although I don't know."

Lampard, meanwhile, insists Rooney is big enough to handle any provocation that may come his way.

The Everton star could miss England's involvement in a possible quarter-final tie if he gets a yellow card against Croatia.

He said: "We've got someone in Wayne with the character to carry all this pressure.

"He really is fearless. He takes everything in his stride, although we have got to be careful we don't put too much pressure on him because he is so young.

"He will make mistakes and he won't always have such great games as the last two.

"That's just normal, but I think he can handle the pressure."

Lampard added: "Being wound up is just something that happens at international level and in European football.

"It is something Wayne has to realise and make sure he is clever enough to keep the aggression in his game without over-doing it."





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