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Nov 19, 2013

Gerrard: No need to panic for England

Steven Gerrard has suggested there is no need for England to hit the panic button following their defeat against Chile believing Roy Hodgson’s side are capable of causing surprises aplenty at next summer’s World Cup.

• Brewin: Hart failures
• Johnson: Three Things: England vs. Chile
• Hesse: The German revolution

England captain Gerrard returns to Hodgson’s lineup for the showpiece friendly against Germany on Tuesday night, with his confidence in the players around him evident in his prematch comments.

“I look back at the Chile result and I come away from that game feeling different from a lot of people having read what I have read,” Gerrard told reporters. “I’m really confident that if we were to meet Chile further on into a World Cup competition we would have the players at full strength to go and beat them.

“There is a good mix of youth and experienced players in the squad at the moment who are all moving forward and improving all the time.”

Gerrard insisted England are “better now” than they were when they lost 4-1 to Germany in the 2010 World Cup finals, rejecting suggestions that he will head into the re-match with Joachim Low’s men with any sense of fear in his mind.

However, he accepts England may be second favourites in the fixture, despite having home advantage and another bumper Wembley crowd on their side.

“I look at both squads and both starting XIs that are possible for the game on Tuesday and I wouldn’t say we’re huge underdogs, just maybe slight underdogs,” said Gerrard.

“I think if you look at how Germany have performed in recent tournaments, and where they’re ranked compared to us, then I suppose we are slight underdogs.

“I’ll openly admit I’ve gone on to the pitch at times when I’ve thought ‘we’ve got our backs against it today’, for example when I’ve come up against Barcelona in the Champions League when on paper they’re much stronger, but I’ve never gone in scared.

“I’ve always gone in with the idea that it is a great opportunity to be the underdog for a change and maybe prove to people that the underdogs can sometimes come out on top.”

Meanwhile, the Liverpool captain has stressed he is not taking a gamble by having pain-killing injections to ensure he is fit to take to the field at Wembley.

“I wouldn’t have the injections if I didn’t feel any benefit,” he added. “The reason I went in for these recently is because I’ve felt so good physically over the last couple of years.

“I’m alright. I’ve been carrying a niggle for the past two or three games around the hip area, so I’ve had some treatment in my back area, as I have done for many years to stay on top of it. It’s a lot better than it was a week or 10 days ago.”

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