England midfielder Frank Lampard believes Wayne Rooney's injury gives other players the chance to shine in the final FIFA World Cup qualifier™ against Belarus at Wembley on Wednesday.

Rooney pulled out of the final game of England's qualification campaign with a calf injury but Lampard believes that England's loss could benefit another member of the squad.

Lampard said of Rooney: "He's obviously a good player, he's been in fantastic form. He's been the player of our campaign for sure, but it's quite nice for us to have to get along without him.

"There are other good players waiting for a chance. If we can see other players coming through then it's a good thing for us."

Chelsea midfielder Lampard has backed Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, whose mistake led to the situation which saw goalkeeper Robert Green sent off in the 1-0 defeat away to Ukraine on Saturday.

Ferdinand has come in for criticism for his performance, but Lampard has backed him to prove his worth during the FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa next summer alongside Chelsea's John Terry in the centre of defence.

Lampard said: "Rio's consistency, along with John, in the last four or five years puts them right at the top in centre-halves for me.

"It's unfortunate that there seem to be players taking stick at any one time. We need to get behind players, and Rio is certainly a big player. He's been fantastic for such a long time.

"When the big game comes you need big players, and Rio will deliver then."

Lampard has also given his support to striker Emile Heskey, who believes he may have to leave Aston Villa in the January transfer window to enhance his England chances.

Heskey has featured regularly for England, despite seeing his opportunities limited at Villa. Lampard said: "Emile has come out and said that, and fair play to him for saying that.

"Every player will have that same mentality, because competition for places (with England) is fierce. The manager wants players who are playing well and who are in form. We are all fighting week in and week out to impress the manager."