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Gerrard praises rising stars

Steven Gerrard says England's rising young stars are getting better with every day of the squad's World Cup training camp.

Last Updated: 06/06/14 at 22:26 Post Comment

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The 33-year-old is happy to 'look out for' the junior contingent of the group as part of his role as captain and says he has a great deal of sympathy for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose place in Brazil has been thrown into doubt by a knee injury.

Gerrard himself missed the 2002 World Cup after suffering a groin injury on the final day of the Premier League season which required surgery.

Oxlade-Chamberlain caught the eye in England's midweek draw with Ecuador but there was also a strong performance by Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, and Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling have been in hot form for their clubs.

Gerrard can see the improvements in the players on a daily basis but says it is important to not get carried away.

"They're loving being out here and they're growing day by day," he said. "The headache the manager has got is that everyone is capable of playing in his starting 11 and I wouldn't want to be in his shoes when it comes to picking the team.

"That's healthy."

And he added: "One of my roles is to look out for the younger lads. I'll put my arm around them when they need it because it happened to me earlier in my career. I've spoken to Alex and he's really positive.

"It's important we don't put too much pressure on any of the young lads and manage them in the right way.

"Ross (Barkley) is going to be a terrific player but it is important we don't get carried away."

Gerrard felt Oxlade-Chamberlain was England's best performer in the draw with Ecuador, and was also encouraged by the performance of Barkley, who he feels is in the perfect managerial hands.

"Alex was the man of the match and Ross was brilliant in flashes but I was more pleased with the all-round performance," he said.

"There are 10 days to go until the Italy game and I'm really pleased with where we are at the moment.

"Ross couldn't be working with two better managers than Roy (Hodgson) here and Roberto Martinez at Everton."

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