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Oct 18, 2012

Gerrard 'fine' amid sleeping pill talk

Steven Gerrard insists he got the right amount of sleep prior to England's 1-1 draw with Poland, amid claims that Wednesday's sluggish performance was a result of the squad being given sleeping pills.

• Jolly: England bogged down

England were forced to spend an extra night in Warsaw after Tuesday's initial kick-off date was washed out by rain. Roy Hodgson's men were forced to play at 16.00 BST the next day, disrupting diets, preparations and sleeping patterns.

It is widely reported in Wednesday's national papers that several of England's players had taken caffeine-based energy tablets prior to Tuesday's cancellation, meaning they were too wired to sleep ahead of the rearranged kick-off.

They were therefore handed sleeping pills, something which is now being blamed for England's lacklustre showing. Poland dominated the game for long periods in Warsaw as Kamil Glik eventually cancelled out Wayne Rooney's opener.

"When you're fired-up, pumped-up, you've had your massages and you're ready to go, a postponement is not ideal but we're professionals," Gerrard said.

"We're playing at the top level and we had to get ourselves up for this but I didn't think we were totally at the races.

"I slept fine. I won't use the delay and conditions as an excuse. The reason we didn't win was we didn't pass it when we went in front."

James Milner, who was one of England's better performers on the night, admitted preparations were far from perfect for the fixture, and there was an overriding feeling that Hodgson's squad were happy to emerge with a point towards World Cup qualification.

"It is not ideal," Milner said. "You have all your meetings, you go into the dressing room and we have had our massages. We put strapping on, boots on, tie-ups on, we are ready to go out and then we get told to wait."

Hodgson agreed, saying: "As far as we're concerned, the extra day and stay over, the sogginess of the pitch didn't work in our favour.

"It's a bit easier if a game's postponed if you're on home soil. I had the impression earlier in the week that the players were looking sharp and lively. I didn't have that impression today."

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