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Terry Pierce - Gerrard must play central role for England

Published: 07 Jun 2010 - 07:08:41

Following Rio Ferdinand's withdrawal Steven Gerrard is England's World Cup Captain but, more importantly, he is also England's key man if they are to get anywhere near ending the decades of hurt.

Gerrard is the driving force and the heartbeat of Liverpool and has single-handedly dragged them to victories over the years, but in the past his legs seem to turn to jelly when he comes within five yards of the captain'[s armband on the international stage.

It is therefore imperative that he thrives under the pressure in South Africa, and the easiest way for him to replicate his influence at club level is for him to play the same role for Fabio Capello that he has done so well at Anfield over the years.

He may not have had the best of seasons domestically but he is still a world-class attacking midfielder. He is not, however, a world-class wide player, or even the best left winger in England's squad.

If he is bunged out on the left, just to accommodate him, he will continue to be England's under achiever. Play him behind a single striker and allow him to dominate on the ball and off it and he will provide the dynamism, energy and craft we seem to so desperately lack at times.

Of course this means a change in shape, but the closer the tournament gets the more everyone seems to agree that the current squad would be most effective playing 4-5-1.

Barry and Lampard in the middle. Two out-and-out wingers and Gerrard off Rooney makes sense but, worryingly, Capello has seemed reluctant to give it a go in the warm-up games.

Rooney has been superb up front on his own for Man United this year. Frank Lampard is comfortable alongside a holding midfielder and in James Milner, Aaron Lennon and Joe Cole weve got plenty of options out wide.

We only have one world-class striker and the best sides play their key players in the best positions. Capello is smart enough to know this, and to also recognise how disjointed, one-dimensional and narrow his side looked in the friendlies.

So come Saturday evening I for one will be praying there is no Emile Heskey, Peter Crouch or Jermain Defoe on the team-sheet and that Gerrard (C) will be smack bang in the middle of the pitch.

Play him there and he can be the Gerrard we all saw in Instanbul and at grounds across England over the last decade. He can inspire, influence, create and lead us to the final stages.

Play him wide and hell be the under achieving and uninfluential shadow that England fans have come to accept.

READ TERRY PIERCE EXCLUSIVELY AT FOOTBALL.CO.UK DURING THE WORLD CUP

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:terry pierce
Terry was born and bred in Wiltshire, and is a massive Swindon fan - travelling the length of the country most weekends to watch the 'mighty' Reds. He also manages a successful(ish) Sunday league side, and his life pretty much revolves around football. Five-year-old Terry was in the crowd when Swindon won promotion to the Premier League in 1993 with a 4-3 play-off win against Leicester. He cried after every goal. Read Terry's thoughts every week on life outside the Premier League. Follow Terry on Twitter @telpierce.

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