Gerrard relishing England skipper role

February 5, 2007

Steven Gerrard claims 'it will mean an awful lot' to captain England in Wednesday's friendly against Spain.

The Liverpool skipper will lead the side out at Old Trafford in the absence of John Terry, who will not start the match after only recently recovering from injury.

'It will mean an awful lot to me,' Gerrard said in a press conference televised on Sky Sports News.

'To walk out at the front and lead the boys out into battle will be extra-special.'

• Gerrard 'excited' over takeover

Vice-captain Gerrard, who last skippered England three years ago, will turn to Terry for help and advice ahead of the game.

Gerrard said: 'He's experienced it a lot more times than me. It's great to have John about.

'I'm sure he'll be in the dressing-room come Wednesday night, helping the boys, still being the great captain he is.'

Gerrard insisted there will be no ill-feeling towards Joey Barton, who earned a maiden call-up to the squad.

The Manchester City midfielder was critical of England players who released autobiographies in the wake of last summer's dismal World Cup campaign.

Gerrard joked: 'I'm going to give him a knock after the press conference with a signed book and he can read that over the next couple of days.

'There's no hard feelings between myself and Joey. We're from a similar area.

'The interview he's done has gone over my head.'

Gerrard added: 'There are no hard feelings, we'll give him the welcome he deserves. His form has been fantastic of late.

'It will be interesting to see his expression when I first see him this morning!

'It's great that there are rivals at club level. It shows how strong our league is when players battle every Saturday against each other but there's got to be respect there when we join up for our country.'

Gerrard will pit himself against club-mates Xabi Alonso and Jose Reina.

He said: 'I'm really looking forward to Wednesday - the banter started a long time ago. It's a big game for me because I've got to train with them on Thursday.

'It will be really strange to play against Xabi in a competitive match. He's a terrific player, a great guy and it's exciting to go into battle head-to-head.

'We are really close, we're playing quite well together but it will be different on Wednesday.

'We're both looking forward to it and I don't think whoever loses will be looking forward to going into work on Wednesday.

'This game is perfect preparation, we've got some really big qualifiers next month and there is a big challenge ahead now to top this group.

'A tough friendly is ideal preparation.'

  • Gerrard 'excited' over takeover

    Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has thrown his full support behind the American takeover bid of George Gillett and Tom Hicks that is on the brink of acceptance by the club.

    And Gerrard believes the potential £450million investment by the US sports moguls signals 'exciting times' for the Anfield club.

    Gerrard had previously been introduced - along with boss Rafael Benitez - to the Dubai International Capital group, who withdrew their bid last week.

    The captain had expressed his support for that bid too, but he now sees the US consortium as being just as beneficial to the Merseysiders.

    Gerrard, speaking on England duty at a media conference broadcast by Sky Sports News, said: 'I'm really excited. I'm told it's really close and hopefully sometime this week it will be sorted.

    'The takeover is in good hands with our chairman David Moores and Rick Parry (chief executive) and I'm full of confidence they will make the right decision and get it signed and sealed.

    'These are exciting times for the club.'