England midfielder Frank Lampard, a scorer in 6 June's 4-0 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying win over Kazakhstan, has hailed the contribution of forward Emile Heskey since his return to the Three Lions fold nearly two years ago.

Heskey's international career had appeared over but he has not looked back since being recalled by Steve McClaren at the start of the 2007/08 campaign.

And the Aston Villa front-runner netted his first competitive goal for his country in seven years during Saturday's qualifying success in Almaty, with his previous competitive strike coming against Denmark at Korea/Japan 2002.

"Emile is fantastic. His work-rate is brilliant and what he has done since he has come back into the squad has been top-class," said Lampard.

"He is a great lad and he deserves a lot of credit. He deserved his goal against Kazakhstan but goalscoring is not all of his game. The beauty of Emile is the work ethic that he gives the team, the fact that he works his socks off.

"He is a target man for us, he is very unselfish in the way he plays but now and again he pops up with his goals. He is top-drawer."

Emile is fantastic. His work-rate is brilliant and what he has done since he has come back into the squad has been top-class.

Frank Lampard on Emile Heskey

The Chelsea midfielder also criticised the playing surface in the Central stadium and praised Fabio Capello's side for getting to grips with the conditions.

"The performance was good. I think the first 20 minutes was not so good. We struggled to come to terms with the pitch and maybe the journey and everything.

"Once we got into the game, once we scored a goal, we started to play better and move the ball more comfortably.

"The pitch was awkward. It was like a park pitch back home really. You play on those when you are a kid. We didn't want to make any excuses about that before the game.

"But it didn't make it as comfortable to knock the ball about. You could see the ball bobbling. We over-hit the balls a lot early on but once we came to terms with it, we moved the ball around a lot better."

Lampard is adamant the team will only start celebrate reaching South Africa 2010 once their place is mathematically assured.

"The two goals before half-time were crucial," he said of the goals by Gareth Barry and Heskey just prior to the interval. "When you come to these places, the longer the opposition are in the game, the more they keep faith and keep working hard.

"Once you go two goals up, it knocked the stuffing out of them a little bit and from then on we dominated the game without playing fantastically.

"We did a professional job. It is another step. We've won all the games so far. But we need a couple more to make sure of qualifying. We will only celebrate when we are there."