FRANK LAMPARD will be England’s vice-captain at this summer’s World Cup finals after Roy Hodgson selected the Chelsea midfielder ahead of Wayne Rooney.

Lampard is the oldest and most experienced member of the England squad that will travel to Brazil, and will act as Steven Gerrard’s deputy when the squad leaves for a training camp in Portugal later today.

“Frank’s been the vice-captain all along in Steven’s absences, which I think has been twice,” said Hodgson. “He’s stepped up quite brilliantly.

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“I’ve always thought that he was going to be a key member of this 23 because of his experience and what he brings to the team apart from pure footballing ability. He brings a lot of other things to us in terms of his leadership qualities and characteristics.”


ROBIN van PERSIE was on the scoresheet as Holland kicked off their World Cup preparations with a 1-1 draw with fellow finalists Ecuador in Amsterdam.

Dutch coach Louis van Gaal trialled a new 5-3-2 formation in the first of three planned warm-up games before his squad departs for Brazil.

With Holland displaying early signs of rustiness, Ecuador claimed a ninth-minute lead when Jefferson Montero escaped from the attentions of Joel Veltman to convert Felipe Caicedo’s through ball.

However, the hosts claimed a equaliser eight minutes before the break when van Persie controlled a pass from Jordy Clasie with his chest before driving home his 42nd international goal.

Van Persie appeared to be showing no ill effects from the knee problem that sidelined him for six weeks of the Premier League season, although Holland suffered an injury scare when right-back Daryl Janmaat limped off before half-time after damaging his ankle.


FRANCE goalkeeper Steve Mandanda could miss the World Cup finals after injuring his neck during Marseille’s 1-0 win over Guingamp at the weekend.

Mandanda collided with Guingamp striker Mustapha Yatabare and was unable to continue after suffering a suspected fractured vertebra.

Mandanda has been named in the France squad alongside fellow goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Mickael Landreau, but Didier Deschamps may now have to call up Monaco’s Stephane Ruffier from the reserve list.