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Rafa issues Gerrard warning
28 Aug 2007 - 08:14:31
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has warned England counterpart Steve McClaren that he won't gamble with the fitness of Steven Gerrard ahead of vital European Championship qualifiers.
The Reds skipper will not feature in Tuesday's Champions League qualifier against Toulouse as he continues to be troubled by a fractured toe.
Gerrard hasn't trained for the past seven days and Benitez has warned McClaren that he will only release the midfielder for the double-header against Israel and Russia on September 8 and 12 should he prove his fitness for Liverpool.
The Reds have just one Premier League game against Derby County on Saturday before the latest England squad is announced.
"If he is fit, I would not have any problem about him joining up with England," said Benitez.
"I would prefer to keep players here with me always, but that is impossible, especially with a player like Stevie who wants to play every game.
"That is why my decision with him becomes important because, if I ask him if he wants to play, he will say he wants to play in every game.
"We will need to check about England. We are optimistic but we need to talk to the doctor and also with him and check if he is really fit or if it will be a risk to play him.
"At the end of the day it is a broken bone. He can train. He can run. But he is not now training with the team and, if he touches the ball, he is always taking care."