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Lampard deserves England call up, says Chelsea manager

© Reuters 2002

LONDON, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard deserves a recall to the England squad after his contribution to the premier league club's excellent start to the season, says his manager Claudio Ranieri.

Watched by England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson's assistant Tord Grip, Lampard gave another assured display in Monday's 0-0 draw in the west London derby with Fulham which lifted Chelsea to third in the table and continued their unbeaten start to the campaign.

"He deserves it," said Ranieri when asked if the 24-year-old should be involved in the England set-up. "Frank is a sure player. He has everything, quality and strength.

"I'd prefer it if he wasn't called up because then he could stay fit and with me," he joked.

Ranieri, who signed Lampard from West Ham United for 11 million pounds ($17.09 million) before the start of last season, said the former England Under-21 captain had matured.

"Last season he went forward too much," said the Italian. "This year sometimes he goes forward and sometimes he stays."

Asked whether he had paid too much for Lampard, the former Fiorentina and Valencia coach said that was a reality of the modern game.

"If you want good young players then you have to pay," he said. Ranieri's comments echoed those of Lampard's team mate Jody Morris. "Frank has been so unlucky not to be involved in the England squad.

He has been on fire for us," the 23-year-old midfielder told Chelsea TV before Monday's match.

Lampard, who has won seven caps, last played for his country in a friendly international against Paraguay in April and was left out of the England squad for the FIFA World Cup" finals in South Korea and Japan.
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