WC Qual - UEFA
September 11, 2012
England v Ukraine: Preview
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||3.0||1.3|
|Goals against *||0.5||0.7|
|Last 5 home||W-D||W-L|
|Last 5 away||D-W-D-W||W-D-D|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: England | Ukraine|
|9/6||H: Moldova||9/6||H: San Marino|
|9/10||A: Ukraine||9/10||H: England|
|10/11||H: Montenegro||10/11||H: Poland|
|10/15||H: Poland||10/15||A: San Marino|
Steven Gerrard is backing teenage forward Raheem Sterling to become an England regular after he earned a late call-up for tomorrow's World Cup qualifier with Ukraine at Wembley.
However, England skipper Gerrard does not want too much pressure to be placed on the 17-year-old's shoulders so that he can be allowed to develop as a player.
Sterling is unlikely to feature against Ukraine after being called up along with Southampton captain Adam Lallana and Tottenham midfielder Jake Livermore.
The trio are there as cover in case England suffer any more withdrawals after Theo Walcott was ruled out through illness and Daniel Sturridge is laid low with stomach cramps.
But Gerrard has no doubts that his Reds team-mate will eventually step up on to the international stage as a fully fledged international.
Gerrard said: "He is a fantastic talent, one of the shining lights at our club this year, even though results haven't been good enough.
"It is great for him to be called up and get a feel for the senior group because it won't be too long before he becomes a regular in this group. He is that good.
"He is a mature 17-year-old. There is nothing flash about him at all. He is a quiet kid. He works hard and listens and that is the key when you are that age and a good player.
"If you can listen and take advice from good managers and players, you will keep on progressing and improving.
"He is a breath of fresh air, especially for the older lads, with the pace and excitement he brings. He is a nightmare to mark for defenders.''
Gerrard knows England will have to be on top of their game against Ukraine as they look to follow up the 5-0 win in Moldova on Friday with another victory.
He concedes England were fortunate to win the Euro 2012 clash between the two countries in Donetsk.
Gerrard said: "We need to build on the Moldova game, try and improve and keep learning. The performance was positive on Friday but tomorrow will be a bigger test.
"They are a group of players who have played together for a long time. Technically they are very good. If you stand-off these players, they can hurt you.
"There were times in the Euros when we gave them too much respect and stood off them and they had a few dangerous opportunities to score.
"Over the 90 minutes they could feel hard done by not to have got at least a point.
"But we won the game, did what we needed to do, and hopefully we can get the same outcome tomorrow.''
Gerrard will win his 98th cap tomorrow tonight and could now reach the 100 mark against San Marino next month in the same match as Ashley Cole, who is currently sidelined with an ankle injury.
He said: "That would be a nice touch for both of us. But the important focus is to get to the World Cup.
"Individual achievements are always nice along the way but I'm more interested in the points tomorrow night.''
Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin, meanwhile, has banned his players from watching England's one-sided romp against Moldova - and warned opposite number Roy Hodgson his men will not roll over like their fellow eastern Europeans.
While the gulf in class between England and Moldova was obvious, Blokhin believes the result was determined even before the game began.
"We respect the England team - but we will be trying to beat them,'' he said.
"If we are in the same position as Moldova, we will lose 8-0. They lost the game before they came onto the pitch.
"I prohibited my team from watching it. There was no point.
"I can't promise we will win - but we will fight.''