Gerrard revels in England captaincy
Steven Gerrard will captain England at a World Cup for the second time but believes Brazil will be the first tournament he holds the role ‘for real’ having felt that previous manager Fabio Capello didn't truly believe in him as skipper.
Liverpool midfielder Gerrard captained England in South Africa four years ago but only after first choice Rio Ferdinand was injured and John Terry was stripped of the role due to the controversy surrounding him at the time.
“Capello didn’t believe in me as his number one captain, Roy does. I don’t know what it was, I think he did believe in me as a player and our relationship was totally fine, I enjoyed working under him, but at the time when he had to pick a captain we had Rio Ferdinand here and John Terry as well,” Gerrard told reporters on Friday.
“Maybe he thought they were going to offer something different from me or maybe they were his preferred choice which was totally up to him. But for me now I know that I’m Roy’s number one captain which is a big confidence boost for me,” he said.
While Gerrard enjoys having the full backing of his manager in his captaincy skills he said the formal position doesn’t change his behaviour as a senior member of a youthful squad.
He said: “I’d have still behaved in the same way four years ago (as now). If I wanted to go and put my arm around a player or show a bit of authority I’d do it in front of John. I’m sure he respected that.
“Just because I’m the captain with the armband on I still want the likes of Frank (Lampard) and Wayne (Rooney) and Phil Jagielka to be leaders in there with me and backing me up and we do it together. But of course I’d rather be captain than vice-captain for sure,” he added.
The 34-year-old says he is relishing being part of a young squad that he believes is better than the one Capello took to the last World Cup.
“There are two players pushing in every position to get into the 11 and I don’t think there’s much between those two players in every position. I think the manager is probably capable of picking four or five teams for the Italy game and you wouldn’t see much difference in the standard,” he said.
“That’s what gives me hope and also to know that whichever 11 he picks we’ve got some fantastic talent on the bench to come in when needed.
“I think they (the young players) have brought their form from the individual clubs into the set up. That’s what I’ve noticed in the training so far and hopefully they continue that into the tournament.
“But these players, you talk about how young they are and how inexperienced they are but all I can say is that they are ready to play. That’s the biggest compliment I can give them and that’s because of what I’ve seen in training.”