Gerrard deals with doom and gloom

Steven Gerrard has admitted the dark days are back as England prepare to host Hungary in Wednesday night's international friendly at Wembley.

Last Updated: 10/08/10 at 23:31

Gerrard: England host Hungary

Gerrard: England host Hungary

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England are preparing to face the boo-boys again, with Gerrard confirming he would be among those dishing out the abuse if he had forked out hard-earned money to follow the team to South Africa.

Instead, the midfielder used his status as skipper in Rio Ferdinand's absence to conduct a candid interview ahead of the match, in which he met each World Cup criticism head on.

Gerrard accepted that, until they prove otherwise, England's players will be condemned for not being as good as they think they are.

"This is low as it gets," he said. "The position we are in at the moment is quite similar to when we didn't qualify for the European Championships under Steve McClaren.

"We are not up with the best. We went out in the last 16, everyone can do the maths.

"There blatantly is a difference between us and Spain for example, because they have won the World Cup. They have proved they are a lot better than us.

"It is other people, not us, who say how good we are.

"Maybe lowering expectations would help. But will that happen? I don't think so.

"We have massive support. We have got 60,000 coming tomorrow, which is going to be the biggest crowd of the night.

"Are the media going to lower their expectations?

"But this should be the way it is with England. We've got good players. We have to deal with it better."

Gerrard did not give the impression of a man baring his soul, merely one delivering some honest home truths.

On a day when England lost two more men to injury, including another goalkeeper in Ben Foster whose back problem triggered call-ups for Under-21 duo Scott Loach and Frankie Fielding, Gerrard just wanted to front up.

If there was a sense of unease at having to apologise for the mistakes of others given he was one of only two England players to return from South Africa with their reputations in tact - Ashley Cole was the other - the Merseysider did not show it.

"Tomorrow? Are you serious?" he replied when asked whether it would be a relief to wear the England shirt in front of a Wembley crowd again.

"It is important to get back together but we are not going to turn this around in weeks or months.

"This is going to be a long process of getting the belief and the confidence back from the supporters. Only then will it become really enjoyable to play for England again.

"It is easy to say 'We're sorry' to the supporters.

"The supporters don't want an apology in a press conference. They want to see the team show how sorry we are by performing well, turning things around and qualifying for the next tournament.

"But that in itself is not going to be easy because the group we are in will be a lot harder than the one we got out of the reach the World Cup.

"And then we are going to have to wait until a tournament because we qualified really well for the World Cup."

As England's next game marks the start of their Euro 2012 campaign against Bulgaria at Wembley on September 3, Gerrard knows the fans must get rid of their anger on Wednesday to ensure they are supporting the team again in pursuit of a place in the finals in Poland and the Ukraine.

It means Arsenal duo Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere will be shielded from an anticipated adverse reaction, with only Bobby Zamora from Capello's starting line-up not being in some way responsible for the World Cup debacle.

"Yes," said Gerrard, when asked if he would boo as well if he was a fan.

"If they have paid good money and gone to South Africa expecting us to do well and we haven't, they have the right.

"I understand their frustrations. If they want to voice them, they can do."

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