No rousing speech from Gerrard

15 October 2013 09:31

Steven Gerrard doesn't do Churchillian.

But if the England skipper was going to make a grand speech ahead of Tuesday night's crucial World Cup qualifier with Poland, November 21, 2007 would be a central component.

Roy Hodgson is adamant that shattering 3-2 defeat by Croatia at Wembley has not been mentioned in the preparation for a game England must win to guarantee reaching next year's World Cup Finals in Brazil.

It doesn't need mentioning for Gerrard.

He only has to start thinking about an international career that will extend beyond Sir Bobby Charlton's in length at kick-off to be reminded of it.

"Yeah, a big massive picture of the Croatia game in 2007," said Gerrard, when asked what memories he will draw on for inspiration.

"It's a memory I'll have to take to the grave with me. One of the lowest moments of my international journey."

Six years on, the narrative still takes some believing.

England only required a draw to confirm their place at Euro 2008, against a team who had little incentive given they were already confirmed finalists.

Coach Steve McClaren took the bold decision to select Scott Carson for his first competitive international, a move that backfired almost instantly as the goalkeeper let Nico Kranjcar's long-range shot slip under him.

Source: PA