Roy Hodgson watched Frank Lampard secure England's first victory over Brazil in 23 years but then warned his match-winner he might risk jeopardising his future career at international level should he abandon Europe for Major League Soccer at the end of the season.
A hugely encouraging display against Luiz Felipe Scolari's team, marked by excellent contributions from Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott, was capped when Lampard struck his 27th goal at this level to become the joint 11th top scorer for England above Bryan Robson and alongside David Platt. This was the veteran's 94th cap with Hodgson convinced a player who will reluctantly leave Chelsea under freedom of contract in July can go on to emulate his team-mates Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole by accumulating a century of appearances.
Yet, with Chelsea having indicated they will not be seeking to prolong Lampard's 12-year career at Stamford Bridge beyond the summer, the England manager suggested a mooted move to Los Angeles Galaxy risked making the 34-year-old's continued involvement with the national set-up "problematic". "He was excellent, and I think he can reach 100 caps," said Hodgson. "I hope we'll keep Frank in England. It's not for me to discuss his future with his current club – that's for him and his club – but I know he'll have a lot of offers if Chelsea do decide they're prepared to let him go.
"I'm rather hoping we'll still see him if not in England then in Europe, which will make my task easier. If he goes further afield and follows David [Beckham to Los Angeles] it complicates matters but it doesn't mean your career is over with England. But the further afield you go, the more problematic it gets for the media and the England manager to follow you. That's for sure."
Lampard was a second-half replacement for the impressive Tom Cleverley here, though it was Wilshere's display on his seventh cap and first international start for 20 months that truly caught the eye. The Arsenal midfielder drew praise from Scolari – "He was very, very good," said the former Chelsea and World Cup-winning manager – and those sentiments were echoed by his team-mate. "Jack is a fantastic player," said Lampard. "His technical ability, his quality on the ball … he is going to be a massive player for England and in the world.
"We've proved we can beat anyone on our day. The important thing now is consistency and the important thing is the group matches as that's where points come in. We have to get to Brazil and if we continue with that attitude and maybe get some more flow to our game then we can do very well I think.
"But, for all of us, the important thing now is some consistency in the qualifying group matches. We can't get carried away with this, even if it's a long time since we beat Brazil. It is a lovely feeling. The lads who completed 90 minutes out there deserve a lot of credit because Brazil can't half move the ball. We've played some very good games against lesser opposition, and we had to work hard and they did miss chances, but we did well out there."
Hodgson pointed to the conviction a result as eye-catching as this can generate within the squad as genuine cause for optimism. "It's not about my belief but that of the players," he said. "I hope this gives them that belief. We had quite a young team out there, with players who were 22 or younger. The player that was made man of the match [Wilshere] is 21, and then there was Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, Chris Smalling. It's nice they're blending with the experienced ones and we're seeing they're good enough to play in this team and win matches.
"The thing that pleased me most of all was the character we showed after that crazy, dodgy spell at the start of the second half when Brazil equalised. When you're playing a side of their quality and they smell blood, it's difficult but I thought we did well to survive that little period and get back on track to take control of the game again."
While it was disappointing that the minute's silence prior to kick-off – to remember those who lost their lives at a nightclub blaze in Santa Maria last month and in the Munich air disaster 55 years ago, together with the former England captain Bobby Moore, who died 20 years ago – was interrupted by shouts from the stands, this was a night of positives that extended even to Wayne Rooney and Smalling playing a full 90 minutes.
Hodgson had spoken to Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes and Brendan Rodgers in the build-up about their players' involvement in a fixture, given a cluttered club programme, but revealed the Manchester United manager had actually indicated both players might benefit from a full game.
"When I spoke to Alex he pointed out that Wayne Rooney was coming back from an injury and would benefit from playing," added Hodgson. "Smalling too. He was concerned about Cleverley and Welbeck who have played a lot of games for him and have a lot of games coming up, not least their double-header against Real Madrid, so I might have stolen an extra 15 minutes from Welbeck. But I'd hope Alex would forgive me."