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Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Gerrard recalls England heartache

Mike Whalley

Steven Gerrard admits he has plenty of international regrets as he prepares to win his 100th England cap on Wednesday, with the failure of Sven Goran Eriksson's crop of the early 2000s to make an impact the source of particular disappointment.

• Zlatan urges Gerrard to leave Liverpool

The Liverpool captain, who is set to lead England in a friendly against Sweden in Stockholm, believes he should have had more success with his country.

And he argues that every England team has under-achieved since Sir Alf Ramsey's side won the World Cup in 1966.

Gerrard has established himself as a key figure for the Three Lions since making his debut against Ukraine in May 2000.

But he has never been beyond the quarter-finals of a major international tournament, suffering penalty shoot-out defeats to Portugal at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup, and to Italy at last summer's European Championships.

He missed the 2002 World Cup with a groin problem, but believes Eriksson's side of that era - who beat Germany 5-1 in Munich on the way to qualifying for that tournament - could have achieved more.

"I'd probably say that's the strongest England team I've played in," he told the Daily Mail. "It had great balance between young and experienced players. We had some world-class players.

"I know the 'Golden Generation' gets spoken about, which is something I don't really like, but when you look at that team from front to back it was really strong.

"That group of players under-achieved at big tournaments. That team should certainly have got to a semi-final. We were unlucky at times in the penalty shoot-outs but that's certainly a regret. That group of players should've done better."

Gerrard believes that the only England team who can consider themselves heroes are the 11 players, led by captain Bobby Moore, who won the World Cup 46 years ago.

"As far as playing for England goes, there are 11 heroes," Gerrard was quoted in the Sun. "For me, the rest haven't really delivered. In football, the hero and legend status is given out far too easily. But they will still always be heroes of mine and heroes of the English public."

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