Roy proud at Gerrard landmark
Roy Hodgson will feel an enormous sense of pride at handing Steven Gerrard his 100th cap in Stockholm on Wednesday. Gerrard will become only the sixth England player to reach the milestone, following Peter Shilton, David Beckham, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton and Billy Wright. It is a fine achievement, considering earlier in his career there were some who felt Gerrard's dedication to the Three Lions cause was not all it might have been. However, the 32-year-old has led England into their last two major tournaments and, providing he stays injury-free, is likely to have become England's fifth most experienced captain before his career comes to an end. "Anybody who gets 100 caps for his country has got to be one hell of a player," said Hodgson. "I'm delighted I am going to be the manager of the team when he gets that 100th cap because I regard that as an honour. It's nice if you happen to be the man on the bench that day." Propelled into the England job on the back of Fabio Capello's abrupt departure and all the furore surrounding John Terry, Hodgson turned to Gerrard as his captain, largely due to the fact the pair knew each other from their short time together at Liverpool. It is not a decision Hodgson has had cause to regret. "His ability gives him enormous respect in the group, which is important," said Hodgson. "What gives him a real heads-up over a lot of people is his maturity, his total dedication to football and the fact that he's prepared to give his time to other players, to champion their cause and do everything you expect a captain to do. "You don't need to be demonstrative. "In the past there are certain captains who stand out through being demonstrative but there have been lots of very good captains through the years who are not demonstrative people. "I'm not interested in Steven being demonstrative, I want him to do the job; on the field by leading the team and making certain that when we play we're trying to do the things we work on, and off the field to be there for the players and be that link with the rest of the group." So delighted is he with the job Gerrard has done, Hodgson finds it hard to understand those claims of lacking interest in England's fortunes. Aside from the friendly against Italy in Berne at the start of the season, and the World Cup qualifier against San Marino last month, for which he was suspended, Gerrard has featured in every England game this year and was undoubtedly one of their better players at Euro 2012. "His recent form for England will have put any lingering doubts to bed," said Hodgson. "Like everything else, the higher you get lifted up by people the more chance there is you're going to fall. "That is why you'll notice when young players come into teams, they're invariably received by everybody as 'a fantastic player we've unearthed, a real superstar of the future'. "But once they've played 20 or 30 games and people have accepted them as a star, the criticism begins and people start to look at it again. "During these 100 caps there will have been times when he has woken to the headline 'Mr Fantastic' and others where it says 'You let us down'. "That is the nature of the business." And Hodgson will be looking for Gerrard to impart that message to his young Liverpool team-mates who are starting to make an impact with England - including Raheem Sterling, who first came to Hodgson's attention during his own ill-fated Anfield stint when the wideman was just 15. "He played in a friendly against Borussia Monchengladbach in 2010, when I'd only been at Liverpool for about three weeks," said Hodgson. "It was for the last 15 minutes in front of 55,000 people, and he almost won it for us. "So, I had an idea then that he might turn out to be a bit of a player and his inclusion in a squad like this, with so many players absent, was a bit of a no-brainer."
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