Gerrard is refusing to panic

Steven Gerrard has told England fans there is no need to worry about the Three Lions failing to make it to Brazil next year.

Last Updated: 12/09/13 at 06:25 Post Comment

Gerrard: Has faith in England's record at Wembley

Gerrard: Has faith in England's record at Wembley

Tuesday's 0-0 draw in Ukraine moved England one point clear at the top of their qualifying group, but the laboured performance in Kiev did little to satisfy those who fear the team will not qualify for the World Cup.

While Fabio Capello oversaw two near-perfect qualifying campaigns, his successor Roy Hodgson has found the road to Rio much more challenging.

The only wins Hodgson has chalked up so far came against Moldova and San Marino, but Gerrard moved to calm fears that England are destined for failure after the draw in Ukraine.

The skipper pointed out, quite rightly, that England have an impeccable recent record at Wembley - the Three Lions are unbeaten at home under Hodgson - and he was also buoyed by the probable return of injured duo Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge for the final two games against Montenegro and Poland.

"I think we lacked a little bit of a cutting edge in the final third, but that isn't a worry because there are some big players missing for England at the moment," the England captain said.

"If we can get Rooney and Sturridge fit they will be two big players for us, and they are the type of players you will need to break down the two teams we are coming up against.

"Our record is quite good at Wembley. We proved that by beating Brazil there so if we defend as we did against Ukraine and have a little bit more of that cutting edge in the final third, we will get there. I am really confident we can get the job done."

Gerrard is looking forward in particular to seeing Liverpool team-mate Sturridge line up for the Three Lions.

Sturridge was the obvious replacement for Rooney when he was ruled out, but the 24-year-old had to pull out himself because of a thigh problem.

Sturridge has had a stop-start international career - mainly due to him being played out of position while at Chelsea - but he seems to have found contentment since his move to Liverpool, where he has scored five goals in four games.

"The stage is set for Daniel if he can get himself fit," Gerrard added.

"He is in terrific form."

Despite severe criticism of the performance from Gary Lineker among others, Gerrard insisted the result was "terrific" for England as he thinks it would have been a "disaster" had the Three Lions lost.

The 33-year-old went to great lengths to accentuate the positives from the game in the former Soviet state.

After conceding two soft goals against Scotland last month, questions were asked about the strength of Hodgson's defence, but Gerrard thinks those doubts will now have been put to bed after England withstood a barrage of attacks from a home side who were urged on by 70,000 partisan supporters.

"Two clean sheets in four days answers a lot of critics," the midfielder said.

"I thought Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill were brilliant, and you have to add Ashley Cole and Kyle Walker in to that.

"I thought Ash was unbelievable.

"Every big game I have played with Ashley Cole he has stood up and been terrific. He and Kyle Walker kept their two danger men quiet."

Joe Hart's critics have been even more fierce of late. Hart's position as number one for club and country came into question after poor displays against Cardiff and Scotland.

Hart started the game by almost giving away a penalty, but the Manchester City stopper recovered and dealt with Ukraine's aerial assault well.

"Joe did everything needed of him and I am sure these two clean sheets will do wonders for his confidence," Gerrard said.


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