Gerrard happy to lead at last

Sat, 26 May 08:21:45 2012

Steven Gerrard will skipper England at Euro 2012 just three months after fearing he would never lead his country again after being overlooked for the role by caretaker boss Stuart Pearce.

Pearce gave the armband to Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker rather than the more experienced Gerrard for the friendly with Holland at Wembley. But the arrival as new England head coach of Gerrard's former Liverpool boss, Roy Hodgson, has seen him made permanent captain for the first time and he will lead the side against Norway on Saturday.

Gerrard said: "I was disappointed not to skipper against Holland. Stuart Pearce said I wasn't going to be captain. I said: 'Okay', but I was disappointed. It's not easy when you're told you're not going to be captain. He just said he wanted to go with someone else, Scott Parker."

He went on: "Scott's a great player who's done a great job, so I accepted him and the first thing I did was go to him and congratulate him. But I thought that was it with the captaincy after that. At the time, I thought maybe Stuart Pearce might be the manager at the Euros so I wouldn't be the captain.

"That's why it was so nice and I enjoyed the phone call I got off Roy Hodgson."

Gerrard has often been overlooked for the top job - usually at the expense of Rio Ferdinand or John Terry. He stood in at the disappointing World Cup in 2010, only to relinquish power afterwards. That is why this feels extra special to him.

He added: "It feels like the first time I've been official captain. All the other times, I've known the armband was going to go back, either after the tournament or individual games. (Former manager) Fabio Capello decided to go with other people - Rio and JT - which was fine because they're fantastic captains.

"Fabio always had belief in me as a player but it was quite clear he didn't have total belief for me to be the official captain. This manager has come in and done that. It's very nice and good for my confidence and belief as well."

Gerrard is adamant he will relish the extra responsibility of being Hodgson's on-the-field lieutenant. He said: "You've got to relish it. I'm sitting here as England captain. It's fantastic. It's something I've always dreamed of.

"When the manager phoned me and told me I was over the moon. I have to relish it and not take it as a pressure. I'm an experienced player, I've been in this set-up for a long time, so I feel as if I'm big enough to handle this responsibility."


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