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Drop the pressure, urges Gerrard

21 Nov 2013 06:46:56

Drop the pressure, urges Gerrard

Captain Steven Gerrard feels a sense of perspective can support England's hopes of making a statement at the 2014 World Cup.

The Three Lions were brought back down to Earth following the euphoria surrounding last month's wins over Montenegro and Poland which secured qualification for Brazil when they suffered successive home defeats to Chile and Germany.

England will not be among the top seeds for December's World Cup draw, and so Roy Hodgson's men could find themselves facing a challenge just to progress through to the knockout stages.

However, Liverpool midfielder Gerrard - who played through the pain barrier against Germany after receiving an injection in his knee - believes a more low-key build-up could be just what the squad needs to get themselves into shape ahead of the showpiece tournament in seven months time.

"We are not one of the favourites, we know that," Gerrard said.

"But at the same time you have got to go into the tournament with a bit of belief and confidence, and give it your best shot.

"Of course there are better teams out there than us - you only need to look at the rankings where we are, but we have got to go in there and give it our best shot."

Gerrard added: "I think these results will bring people a little bit down from where they were after Poland and Montenegro, there will be a bit of realism and perspective out there.

"You (will) go into a World Cup where people judge you fairly, and they are not blowing you up to what you're not going to be, and there is not too much pressure and expectation on the players. I am sure that will help us."

By the same token, however, Gerrard sees no reason why when Hodgson has a fully-fit group from which to select his squad ahead of the friendly against Denmark in March - after which he is set to name a provisional 30-man list on May 13 - that England should not be able to make a good account of themselves next summer.

"I think it is important people are not too harsh on us. These games are all about experimenting and trying things," Gerrard said.

"When we get our full team and our full strength back, with the likes of (Danny) Welbeck, (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain and (Theo) Walcott, we will have a good team and a team that can go to the World Cup and compete."

The Liverpool midfielder, who could be set to experience his final major tournament in Brazil, feels England can take confidence from the consistency shown in winning their qualification group undefeated.

"It is difficult to judge us after two defeats, everyone is going to be down and give us no chance and no hope, but when you look at the big picture, at our performances in the qualifiers, you can be upbeat," Gerrard said.

"Of course we are disappointed after the two results here, but I think it is important we are not too hard on ourselves and don't write our chances off (at the World Cup).

"The manager has experimented and tried different things over the last two games, so I am sure he has got a better idea of the 23 he wants to take (to Brazil)."


PA

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