Frank Lampard believes England coach Fabio Capello has "two great options" at his disposal when deciding whether to select Jermain Defoe or Emile Heskey for Wednesday's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier with Croatia at Wembley.
The Tottenham Hotspur striker has begun the current campaign in stunning form at club level, and he took his England goal tally to five in the last three internationals by scoring against Slovenia on Saturday. All of those appearances were as a second-half substitute, and Capello has admitted Defoe is giving him food for thought.
But Heskey's physical presence may prove invaluable against Croatia, despite his shortage of goals, and he was a key figure in the 4-1 win in Zagreb last September. Lampard, who played alongside Defoe during his West Ham United days, is confident his coach will make the right choice.
"The manager has to make the decision and we've got faith in him because he has shown he makes right decisions," said the Chelsea midfielder. "Both players have made great cases to play on Wednesday. Jermain has hit the headlines recently because of his goalscoring.
"I've known him since he was 16 and believed he would eventually go to the top because he is a natural goal scorer. But Emile is also making a great case because of the way he has constantly played for England for a very long time. The manager has great options there, two different styles of player and it's down to him which way he goes."
Lampard is also backing another former club-mate in Glen Johnson, after he came in for criticism for being partly at fault for the solitary Slovenian goal in their 2-1 defeat at Wembley. "Jonno is a fantastic right-back," declared Lampard.
"Everyone at some stage who is an England player comes under scrutiny, and no one can have perfect games all the time. His form at club level has been fantastic for the last 18 months and has got him a well deserved move to Liverpool.
"His England form has also been good and he has given us an extra dimension down the right. We have always had left-backs who have been good at getting forward in Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge. Now Jonno is giving us that on the right."
Lampard is determined to make-up for the misery of England failing to qualify for UEFA EURO 2008 after being beaten 3-2 by Croatia at Wembley. "That will only play on our minds in a positive way because it was a low point for all of us and the nation and we won't forget that," he said.
"We hope we can put that right on Wednesday and qualify for the World Cup finals with a couple of games to spare. It will be nice to go into that game having a lot of confidence and also not a depleted squad which was the case two years ago. People go on about the past matches between the countries but all we have to concentrate on really is the game coming up on Wednesday."