Frank Lampard says Tammy Abraham can step up and replace Harry Kane for England after the Tottenham striker was ruled out until April with a hamstring injury.
Kane ruptured a tendon in his left hamstring against Southampton on New Year’s Day and is now set to miss England’s fixtures in March against Italy and Denmark.
Abraham’s fine form for Chelsea this season – he is the joint-third top scorer in the Premier League – convinced Gareth Southgate to include him in his final two squads last year.
He scored his first goal for his country against Montenegro in November and is now in a strong position to nail down a place in the England squad for this summer’s European Championships.
Asked whether Abraham could fill Kane’s boots, Lampard said: “Well first of all with Harry Kane, it’s not nice to hear – even though it’s a competitor within the league – of an injury to a player. He’s such a great professional.
“Tammy’s got himself into regular squads with the goal-scoring that he’s done with us. He’s given himself a chance.
“A lot can change in football; there are competitors that are vying for those places up front. It just depends on what Tammy does.
“I’m delighted with him. I never want to step on Gareth’s toes – he has his squad to pick and probably sees things slightly different to what I do.
“I’m delighted with his progression, delighted he got in the England squad. For me, yes – he can play at the very highest level but he’s still in those early stages.
“This is the first period in the Premier League where he’s scoring goals. I expect a lot more of that from him. What happens with England is down to him and Gareth.”
Lampard: Christensen going nowhere
Lampard also discussed Andreas Christensen’s future after AC Milan reportedly showed interest in taking him to Italy this month.
He has struggled to hold down a regular place in Lampard’s side this season, making just 12 appearances, but Lampard said: “I can rule it out [him leaving].
“I like Andreas as a player; I’ve always liked him. I used to train with him and saw the talent coming through.
“I want Andreas to be the best he can be. When you see the height, the athleticism and the quality on the ball…
“The reality is we have competition at centre-back here. I have to choose on what I see and generally two of them won’t be happy.
“Against Aston Villa [Chelsea’s 2-1 win in December] he was immense – great to watch, had everything you want in a centre-back.
“And then sometimes, if we are coming up against teams who are physical, then Andreas really has to stand up. I don’t mind saying that because he needs to know that. But he’s still relatively young and time’s on his side.”