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Gerrard: Progress made since 2010

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19 Nov 2013 06:01:55

Gerrard: Progress made since 2010

Steven Gerrard insists England are much better equipped to tackle Germany than they were when they crumbled on that humiliating day in Bloemfontein three years ago.

Roy Hodgson faces one of the biggest tests of his tenure as England manager on Tuesday when Germany come to Wembley.

Good and bad memories spring to mind when England fans think of their meetings with the Germans.

Highs include the 5-1 thrashing in Munich in 2001, and the 1966 World Cup final, of course, but there are plenty of lows too.

The crushing penalty shoot-out defeats of 1990 and 1996 still linger in the memory of some England fans, and the latest generation of supporters cannot forget the last meeting between the two sides in South Africa in 2010.

A dodgy decision from the linesman helped Germany, but there was no doubt that Joachim Low's men deserved the comprehensive win which sent England packing.

Gerrard admits the 4-1 loss was one of the worst moments of his career, but he thinks England are in a much better shape to face their old enemy this time around.

"I'd say we are better now," the England captain said.

"We are a lot stronger. If we were to meet Germany tomorrow in a World Cup I don't think we'd leave the pitch having been beaten 4-1. There is a good mix of youth and experience in the squad at the moment. We are all moving forward and improving all the time.

"If you look at how they've performed in recent tournaments and where they're ranked, then maybe we are slight underdogs. But if you look at both squads and both starting XIs on Tuesday night I wouldn't say we're huge underdogs, no. Maybe slight."

Gerrard concedes he has not watched a tape of that match in South Africa, but then again he has not watched a re-run of the 5-1 win in Munich either.

That triumph 12 years ago effectively launched his international career, but Gerrard is not one to dwell on the past.

Instead, the 33-year-old wants to look forward to his final World Cup in Brazil next year.

Gerrard has seen some top players pass through the ranks during his time with England, but he is equally as excited about the emerging batch of stars in the current squad.

Andros Townsend impressed on debut against Montenegro last month and Adam Lallana's first foray into international football was an encouraging one.

So despite the fact that Germany have Thomas Muller, Mario Gotze and Max Kruse in their ranks, Gerrard feels England have no reason to be scared of their opponents.

"I have never gone out on to a pitch scared of anyone," the Liverpool captain said.

"I'll openly admit I've gone out and thought: 'Our backs are against it today' when I've come up against Barcelona in the Champions League.

"But I've never gone in scared. I've always gone in with the idea of it being a great opportunity to be the underdog for a change and that the underdog can come out on top.

"Even though it is a friendly it is a game all the players are desperate to win and bounce back from the Chile performance."

Gerrard's participation in the game had been in doubt because of a hip problem, but he has had an injection to help support the ligaments in his hip and tighten them.

Gerrard has the injections every two years and he believes they have kick-started his career.

"I have (the injections) every couple of years," Gerrard said.

"I think my game returned when I had them two years ago.

"I surprised myself really and my game has been really good so I'm hoping I can get the same game return from this set that I've had."

Gerrard will equal Bobby Moore's haul of 108 caps on Tuesday night.

Ever the team player, the England captain shied away from talking about the achievement too much.

"I'm very proud and slightly embarrassed as well!" he said.

"Bobby Moore is a World Cup winner and an iconic figure. He's a hero to everyone in the country.

"To equal his record is a fantastic achievement. Myself and my family are very, very proud."


PA

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