Sat side by side as they faced the media for the last time before tomorrow’s crunch clash with Poland, Steven Gerrard and Roy Hodgson were also united in the view that the prospect of having to qualify for the World Cup finals via the play-offs is simply not an option.
“We haven’t even talked about that,” said the England skipper. “We want to seize this opportunity and we want to win. We are ready to go!”
Hodgson was equally bullish and refuses to contemplate anything other than an England victory which would secure automatic qualification without the need of the play-offs.
He said: “It won’t affect the players’ attitude. This is our game; our stadium; our fans. We are a good team and we are confident we are going to win. I certainly wouldn’t be satisfied with a draw.”
The England boss made light of the ‘controversy’ surrounding the decision to allocate Poland 18,000 tickets, saying: “Our players are used to competing in games where our opponents have excellent support.
“But we will have over 70,000 fans behind us and we won’t fear 18,000 Polish fans. It will be a terrific atmosphere and we are looking forward to what should be a great occasion.
“I still feel the tension and the focus of a game I want to win. I’m not one for Churchillian speeches but we will do all we can to get the result we need and I believe we are getting better all the time.”
Captain Gerrard has already announced that he will retire from international football after next year’s World Cup finals – and he’s keen to bow out in style.
He added: “From a personal point of view, getting to Brazil is huge for me. When Roy gave me the captaincy on a permanent basis, my job was to lead this team to Rio. That is what I intend to do.”