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Mar 2, 2012

Kuyt stunned by Gerrard snub

Holland striker Dirk Kuyt says he was surprised Steven Gerrard was overlooked for the England captaincy, describing his Liverpool team-mate as "the perfect leader".

• Dalglish: No blame over Gerrard injury
• Parker eyes Euro captaincy
• Brooking: England in no rush for boss
• Smalling hospitalised after head clash
• England 2-3 N'lands: Robben winner

Kuyt, who played a key role in a 3-2 win for the Dutch at Wembley on Wednesday, knows the qualities of Gerrard as a captain after the duo enjoyed Carling Cup final success on the same ground against Cardiff 72 hours earlier.

England boss Stuart Pearce preferred to give the armband to Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker, but Kuyt believes that decision was a mistake.

"For me Stevie is the main one for the England team to be the captain," he said. "On and off the pitch he is such a personality. Of course, it is up to the manager of England who makes the decision. But in my eyes he is the main one. He is the perfect leader for Liverpool and the perfect leader for the England team."

Kuyt is hoping Gerrard's early precautionary substitution with a hamstring injury will mean he is fit to face Arsenal in Saturday's lunchtime meeting at Anfield.

"It was difficult for Stevie after 120 minutes and penalties on Sunday in the final," said Kuyt. "To be fair he shouldn't take any risk whatsoever with his injury. Hopefully he took the right decision, went off early, and he won't be a problem for the weekend for another big game."

Arjen Robben believes England can be optimistic for the future despite the Wembley setback courtesy of his injury-time winner.

The Bayern Munich winger said: "There were quite a few players who were missing but they have great potential. England have great individual players but it is very important to work with a team and build on things.

"At the moment in the Champions League, you see some English teams have difficulties. But the English [Premier League] is still great. I had a great time here and who knows? Is the quality not so good? I don't know," he said.

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