Football: England manager Hodgson hails US-bound Gerrard and Lampard

England manager Roy Hodgson has lauded departing Premier League stars Steven Gerrard (left) and Frank Lampard (right) and predicted that both players will enjoy successful coaching careers once they stop playing. -- PHOTOS: EPA, REUTERS
England manager Roy Hodgson has lauded departing Premier League stars Steven Gerrard (left) and Frank Lampard (right) and predicted that both players will enjoy successful coaching careers once they stop playing. -- PHOTOS: EPA, REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - England manager Roy Hodgson has lauded departing Premier League stars Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard and predicted that both players will enjoy successful coaching careers once they stop playing.

Gerrard, 34, plays his last game for Liverpool at Stoke City on Sunday before joining the Los Angeles Galaxy, while former Chelsea stalwart Frank Lampard, 36, tackles Southampton with Manchester City in his final competitive match before linking up with City's sister club New York City.

Hodgson awarded both players their 100th England caps and while success eluded them in their country's colours prior to their international retirements last year, he feels they will leave tremendous legacies.

"Their effect on English football over 18 years has been quite incredible, but I'd rather speak personally," he told reporters at Wembley Stadium.

"What they've done for me during my time as England manager has been quite fantastic, not only on the field as players and in training as players, but also as leaders and characters.

"They've both been outstanding. They've been real role models for the rest of the players.

"They've had a natural authority due to the fact they are such good players, but they have used their authority in the right way to encourage the younger players to make certain that their strong ethos, which as a coaching staff we share, is spread out amongst all the players.

"I can't thank them enough for what they've done. I really hope they enjoy their American adventures. I think they will. It will give an extra string to their bow.

"They will come back even stronger individuals and leaders than they already are. We will see an awful lot of benefits going forward with those two players.

"I can't imagine a long-term future in English football without major contributions from Gerrard and Lampard. So I wish them well.

"I thank them very much from the bottom of my heart for all the work they've done for me and the country while I've been manager."

Hodgson expressed hope that Gerrard and Lampard will one day want to get involved in the England set-up in the same manner as former Manchester United captain Gary Neville, who is one of Hodgson's assistants.

"I'm sure the first people who will try to get hold of them when they return will be Liverpool and Chelsea. I'm pretty sure of that," Hodgson said.

"But who's to say they can't be members in an English set-up as well? They certainly know England. They've both had 100 caps. But it's not only their playing ability. It's their leadership qualities. They're both leaders."