Hart hails 'inspiring' Gerrard

23 June 2012 08:17

England keeper Joe Hart is growing in the presence of inspirational skipper Steven Gerrard.

Although Stuart Pearce named Scott Parker as his captain for the friendly with Holland in February, Roy Hodgson wasted no time in appointing Gerrard when he was named Fabio Capello's successor on a permanent basis.

It seemed like an obvious appointment. Yet Gerrard had been overlooked for the role so often, it seemed there was some flaw the wider public was missing.

That assumption is wide of the mark. On pure ability, there is no one in the England side more certain of their place than Manchester City's Hart. In addition, the 25-year-old now has a Premier League title medal, an accolade that continues to elude Gerrard.

Yet Hart insists when Gerrard makes his on-pitch interjections, it makes him feel special. The goalkeeper said: "He's been great. Personally, he expects a lot of me. When a guy like that looks to you to perform, it means a lot. When he turns round and says 'you need to do this' it makes me grow as a player."

Gerrard is a contemporary captain. There are no Churchillian rallying cries and he is never likely to headbutt a dressing room wall, as Terry Butcher liked to do.

Instead, he leads by quiet efficiency, through his performances on the pitch - by common consent he has been England's best player at Euro 2012 so far - and simple words of advice at crucial moments.

"He's an inspirational leader in what he does," said Hart.

"He's not going round looking people in the face and telling people they're not doing the right things, but he leads by example.

"He is a model professional, someone who's been there and done it. He just inspires."

Source: PA