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Who will replace Frank Lampard?

Frank Lampard’s thigh injury has not only ended his hopes of appearing at Euro 2012, but has surely signalled the end of his international career.

The midfielder will be 35 by the time England fly out to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup (assuming they qualify), and inclusion in the squad would be a significant surprise.

But who could be his long-term replacement? Here are some potential contenders.

Jack Wilshere

Age: 20

International Caps: 5

Already seen as an integral part of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal team, Jack Wilshere is expected to become one of England’s biggest stars. Known for his fantastic movement, vision, and link-up play, Wilshere has been compared to past England greats such as Paul Gascoigne.

Wilshere made his international debut in August 2010 against Hungary, becoming the tenth youngest player to ever play for England, though the pressure will be on to succeed next season as Arsenal look to end their trophy drought.

Jordan Henderson

Age: 21

International Caps: 2

Clearly seen as the immediate replacement for Lampard by Roy Hodgson, much to the surprise of many fans and critics, who have made the case that Henderson’s poor performances for Liverpool last season should not be rewarded with a place in the squad.

His terrible form for Liverpool is in stark contrast to his performances for Sunderland, where he was named the club’s Young Player of the Season two years in a row. He was also named in FIFA’s list of young players to watch in 2011.

On his day he can show remarkable composure and athleticism, along with an ability to pick out a great pass. Next season will be crucial for the midfielder, as he aims to prove to his critics that he can perform at the top level.

Tom Huddlestone

Age: 25

International Caps: 3

The former Derby County midfielder played more games than any other outfield player during Tottenham’s march towards Champions League qualification in 2010, convincing Fabio Capello to name Huddlestone in his initial squad for the World Cup.

Despite often playing in a deep-lying midfield role, he is more than capable of producing moments of creativity. He is clearly confident with the ball at his feet, and loves to dictate play in the centre of the park, spraying it out to the flanks.

Combined with a ferocious shot and bags of pace, Huddlestone can hurt defences when on form. But he is often criticised for losing concentration at key points, and his tackling ability leaves much to be desired.

He has recently struggled with injuries, and is currently recovering from surgery on an ankle problem. He hopes to return in time for the new domestic season.

Tom Cleverley

Age: 22

International Caps: 0

Capped 16 times at Under-21 level, Cleverley is yet to make his full international debut. He was named in Fabio Capello’s squad in February, but had to pull out due to injury.

Cleverley has been identified by Sir Alex Ferguson as a potential replacement for Paul Scholes, and you could make the case that if he’s good enough to replace Scholes, he’s more than good enough for England. England have little reason to doubt Sir Alex’s opinion, as he very rarely gets his assessments wrong.

Like Scholes and Lampard, Cleverley possesses a fantastic footballing brain, and is able to link midfield and attack with ease, largely due to his impeccable vision and ability to pick out even the most audacious pass.

Eric Harrison, the former United youth coach synonymous with the best of the club's production line, has delivered his own verdict: "Tom for me is, without question, so good that he is the best young player at United since Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham came on to the scene."

By Tom Coleman

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