Spurs star King must return for England to rule the world in 2010, says Liverpool midfielder Gerrard
24 March 2009 03:22
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Steven Gerrard does not believe Ledley King's withdrawal from the England squad will inhibit his chances of further call-ups to the national team.
England boss Fabio Capello sprang a surprise when he named King in his squad for the upcoming friendly with Slovakia and next week's World Cup qualifier with Ukraine.
It is well documented King rarely trains with Tottenham and while he joined up with the England squad last night (Monday), Spurs boss Harry Redknapp questioned the wisdom of that move, confirming if the 28-year-old featured against Ukraine he could not be considered for club duty against Blackburn on April 4.
Maybe next time: King did not spend long with the England squad before saying his goodbyes to Fabio Capello
That prompted a decision today, taken with the full agreement of both the England and Spurs coaching staff, to send King back to Spurs without the player taking part in training.
Gerrard, however, does not believe the move will undermine King's international ambitions.
'It's difficult to get involved. Ledley is highly thought of by his club and country. Both want him fit and ready to play and I'm sorry to see him go home,' Gerrard said.
'It would have been nice to have him available, but he is a Tottenham player and you have got to respect whatever decision is made.
'When he is out there he is top drawer. I've been lucky enough to play with him a few times, when he's fit he's as good as anyone out there.
'I don't know the extent of his injury problem but in terms of ability he is definitely good enough to be in the World Cup squad. We will be keeping our fingers crossed nearer the time that he will be fit and available.'
On the ball: Gerrard looked focused on today's training session
Gerrard is hoping to recreate the form he has recently shown with Liverpool, for whom he has scored six goals in the last three games, including his hat-trick against Aston Villa on Sunday.
'I'm on a high,' he said. 'Things have been going really well at the club. My last performance for England I was really happy with. I was under a slight pressure before that game to put in a good performance and I thought I delivered that.
'I missed a few games with injury since then but I've found my form quickly after the latest hamstring injury and at the moment I'm full of confidence.'
Things are hotting up in the Barclays Premier League after Liverpool narrowed the gap behind leaders Manchester United to one point, but Gerrard insists he is now focused on England and is not thinking about the title race.
Laying down a mark: Beckham (2nd left) leads the training
'It's easy enough to re-focus,' he said. 'We're with England now and the big club games will have to wait.
'Everyone's focused on the job in hand and focused on getting a good win on Saturday and three important points on Wednesday night to go top of the group.'
David Beckham would set a new record for the highest number of caps for an outfield player should he be involved in either fixture, and Gerrard paid tribute to the midfielder.
'It's an unbelievable record to have,' Gerrard said. 'Let's hope he does break it - he deserves to. He's been a fantastic servant to this country and I'd love to see him break the record.'
Asked if he thought he could reach a similar milestone, Gerrard added: 'Let's hope so. I hope I can stay around the set-up for a long time.
'I love playing for my country and being around the squad. I'm happy with my 70-odd caps but I've missed quite a few with injury so hopefully I can add a few more in the future.'
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