Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Gerrard Desperate For England Glory

Steven Gerrard has admitted to being worried that his chances to win a trophy with England are "running out", but he is confident that Fabio Capello is just the right man to lead the long suffering Three Lions to silverware.

“I feel the need to win something. I’m 28 in the summer and you would think the chances of being in a successful England team are running out", said Gerrard, who has just been confirmed as England's interim captain for Capello’s first game in charge against Switzerland tomorrow night.

“I’ve played in good teams but, in the end, teams that have been knocked out in the last eight of tournaments, or most recently failed to qualify for one.

“I want to make the most of it over the next four to six years so I can look back over my England career and think I played in a successful team.

“We will have to wait and see what the future brings in terms of results but there is certainly a big excitement in the squad that the new manager has been put in charge of.

“He has got a wonderful CV and, wherever he has been, he has been successful. England have got one of the best managers in the world.

“As a player, you think, ‘can he make these good players we have got into a successful winning team?’ – and I am confident that can happen.

“The players with ability are there and hopefully the manager can make us difficult to beat, exciting going forward and bring some successful results to the table.”

The Liverpool superstar then reiterated how impressed he has been with Capello, since the Italian success monger has assumed hands-on control of the team.

“Fabio has the aura all top managers have. When he walks in the room, he has got an aura about him and those are the type of managers you want to play for.

“When you look someone in the eye at a team meeting, you get a feel for someone straight away. I think about the third, fourth and fifth words which came out of his mouth were ‘winning football matches’ so he let us know early doors what he wanted from us.

“I wouldn’t say you have to intimidate the players but I think as a manager you have to get their respect and let them know who is the boss and what he says goes – and we as players have to adapt to that.”

Rush Backs Torres And Crouch Partnership

Liverpool legend Ian Rush has backed the partnership of Fernando Torres and Peter Crouch to come up with the goals needed to fire the Reds to glory.

The club’s all-time record goalscorer believes that the pair are the two on-form strikers at the Merseyside club as should be allowed the time to gel and develop a real partnership.

The duo both scored in Liverpool’s 3-0 in over Sunderland at the weekend, which was the club’s first league win of 2008.

"There's no doubt that they're the most in-form pairing at present, so I think now is the time to see if they can develop into a decent strike force" Rush said.

"Saturday's match against Sunderland was only the third time they've started a match together in the Premier League, and there were one or two signs that they could flourish.

"But the fact is we will never know unless we give them a chance to gel."

The former Welsh international forward is also of the opinion that Crouch is the ideal foil for Torres, who is well suited to playing off a taller target man.

"I've said before that Peter Crouch has done nothing wrong this season, and with three goals in his last three appearances he's flying, Rush added.

"But his presence can also help Fernando Torres.

"By virtue of his height alone, he occupies one or two defenders, giving Torres more room to operate in, and he showed with the flick-on that created Torres' goal that he can be very much a traditional target man.

"In situations like that it's important that one player is able to anticipate the flick-ons of the other, but Torres is a very intelligent striker and that will never be a problem to a player of his class."

LiverpooL's Dirk Kuyt Upset At Being Dropped

Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt has revealed his disappointment at being dropped from the Dutch squad by Marco van Basten.

Kuyt has been left out of the Holland squad to face Croatia in a friendly on Wednesday after struggling for form this season.

The former Feyenoord hit-man now fears he will miss out on Euro 2008 after being left out by van Basten.

"I need some time to get over this blow. I am extremely disappointed to have been dropped from the squad," said Kuyt.

"I featured in 39 out of the 42 previous internationals for my country.

Meanwhile, former Liverpool hero Ian Rush is set to take up a coaching role with Malaysia.

Malaysia are set to appoint Rush as a striking coach to help their forwards.

Khairy Jamaluddin, deputy president of the Football Association of Malaysia, told local media that Rush will help the country's forwards.

"Rush will be here in March... we know that our strikers are not doing very well so they should learn from him," said Jamaluddin.

Steven Gerrard Handed England Captaincy

Steven Gerrard has been handed the captaincy for Fabio Capello’s first match as England manager.

The Liverpool midfielder will lead out the side for the friendly international with Switzerland at Wembley tomorrow night.

Gerrard has been made skipper in the absence of the injured Chelsea defender John Terry who had been appointed by Capello’s predecessor Steve McClaren.

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was also thought to be in contention to be Capello’s on the field lieutenant against the Swiss.

But Capello has turned to the safe option in Gerrard who was also captain for McClaren’s last game in charge, the ill-fated Euro 2008 qualifier with Croatia at Wembley.

Capello said: “I have just informed my team before coming to see you that tomorrow’s captain against Switzerland will be Steven Gerrard.

“I have done it because I think he is an important player for England, according to my plans. He will be captain for this match.”

Capello has already made it clear he may experiment with other captaincy options before England launch their World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign in September.

Terry remains a contender for the role but has been given no assurances he will return as captain once he regains fitness.

Alvaro Arebeloa's Mixed Feelings At International Call Up

Injured Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa admitted he was surprised but delighted to receive his first call-up to the Spain squad.

The defender, currently out of action with a stomach muscle injury, told Spanish radio station Onda Cero that it came as a shock when national team coach Luis Aragones announced the squad for the friendly against France in Malaga on Wednesday.

He said: “In the morning I was injured and in the afternoon I was injured but in the Spain squad.

“They’d never picked me before and Friday was my first call-up.”

Despite the elation at the prospect of his first international cap, Arbeloa was forced to withdraw because of an ongoing abdominal problem.

He said: “I spoke to him (Aragones) for 15 minutes after he’d announced the squad and told him that I couldn’t take part, but maybe next time we’d have more luck.”