Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard was hoping to be given the chance to play for his Euro 2004 place tonight against Japan.

Sven-Goran Eriksson has been weighing up whether to start Lampard or Nicky Butt in midfield in not only tonight's warm-up game, but also in the opening Euro 2004 group tie against France in Lisbon.

The Swede had previously given every indication that Butt, who has regularly filled the anchor role for the past two years, would be favoured once again despite his lack of regular club football.

However, Eriksson then spent a full hour of England's training session at the City of Manchester stadium last night experimenting with in-form Lampard in the deep-lying holding role.

It is not a position which the 25-year-old Chelsea midfielder is experienced at filling, although his game has matured considerably this season.

Eriksson is nevertheless seemingly looking to discover whether he can afford to employ an attack-minded midfield of Lampard, above, Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham.

After all, he is fully aware of the danger which Zinedine Zidane will pose from the attacking point of France's midfield.

"You know that Zidane will come very often behind two strikers and, if we don't defend well there, then we are in big trouble," accepted Eriksson.

Lampard, therefore, has much to prove, even if injuries to others have meant that he has actually started six of the past 10 England internationals, albeit mostly on the left side of midfield.