Everton boss Frank Lampard rejects ‘harsh’ Southgate criticism and calls for England support

Frank Lampard has backed his former international teammate after a flurry of criticism over England’s poor form.

Everton boss Frank Lampard has hit back at the 'harsh' criticisms levelled at Gareth Southgate and called for England fans to get behind their team at the World Cup.

Having failed to claim victory in any of their last six outings, the Three Lions are set to head to Qatar in November on their longest winless run since 1993.

That has prompted questions over whether Southgate is, in fact, the right man to lead England as they seek to end a 56-year wait for tournament success.

However, Lampard was full of praise for how his former international teammate has dealt with the pressure, and believes unity is required to aid his bid to turn things around.

Everton manager Frank Lampard. Picture: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

He said: "I think it's in some parts harsh, and when I say 'some parts' it's something that we all sign up to in our own ways and the England job is right up there for pressure.

"Fair play to Gareth, I think he's very articulate in how he deals with the criticism, whether he listens to it or not.

"All these press conferences, everything he says and how he handles himself, he's second to none for me in the game.

"I'm not going to say people can't criticise, if things are constructive and people have opinions then great.

"But once this World Cup comes it would be great if everyone can get behind the team and Gareth because I think with everyone fighting in the same direction it's much easier to try and have a successful competition."

Despite leading England to a World Cup semi-final and the final of the Euros, Southgate has often faced accusations of taking a negative approach.

But Lampard insists there is more than one way to win a major tournament, and expects the Three Lions to be versatile in their tactics.

He added: "There'll always be those opinions and I think we all get them.

"I remember the fantastic French team that won the last World Cup [did so] without really playing beautiful football.

"In modern-day football, there are lots of different styles and ways to win a game and I think it will be absolutely Gareth's decision how they approach an Iran or USA compared to how they approach another type of team further in the competition if we get there.

"While he's in charge you give him his head to make those decisions and when you look at Gareth's history as England manager, he's made many good decisions that have got them pretty far. Let's hope we can go one step further."