England coach Fabio Capello has hailed Steven Gerrard as one of the best players in the world and questioned the debate over his best position. Gerrard has been one of the major influences behind Liverpool's renewed challenge for the Premier League title and Capello is hoping he can produce the same kind of form at Wembley on Saturday when the Three Lions tackle Slovakia.
Gerrard has also emerged as favourite to win the PFA player of the year award, with Zinedine Zidane among those championing the 28-year-old's right to be regarded as one of the world's finest. Having worked with the Merseysider at such close quarters, the assessment is not one Capello is going to disagree with.
"Zidane said Gerrard was one of the best in the world and I agree with him," said Capello.
"It is a fantastic time for him. He is at the very top of his game."
Last year in Paris, Capello was faced with puzzled observers wondering why he used Gerrard as a second striker. Gerrard's playing position in the England team has been a constant source of debate.
The England boss said: "Against France last year I put Steven Gerrard into the team as a second striker and everyone said 'why?'.
"Now Steven Gerrard is doing well for Liverpool as a second striker and people ask me 'why am I not playing him there?' Thank you for supporting me at that time.
"Also, the last time he played - in Belarus last October - he scored one, nearly got another and played very well. So I don't know why we are speaking about Gerrard's position in the team."As Capello correctly observes, England also have different players to Liverpool.
So, as Gerrard was nominally selected on the left hand side of midfield in Minsk, it seems a fair bet he will be filling the same slot on Saturday as Wayne Rooney
should be providing the main support to Emile Heskey.