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By ESPN Staff
May 16, 2006

Eager Gerrard ready to live up to the hype

Steven Gerrard is confident he can produce the form which has often evaded him for England during this summer's World Cup finals.

By his own admission Gerrard's international career has struggled to consistently attain the heights he demonstrates week after week for Liverpool.

But the Reds captain is optimistic he can deliver the goods this summer and live up to the claims of team-mate Jamie Carragher who says Gerrard is 'the best player in the world'.

Gerrard said: 'I agree my form has not always been what I wanted for England but there won't be a better stage than the World Cup this summer to show what I can do.

'I've played well in certain games for my country and I'm confident, given the right stage and the players around me, of doing really well in this World Cup.'

Gerrard has not joined up with his team-mates for the training camp in Portugal this week and has been given a week's rest by head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson to recharge his batteries after his inspirational performance in the FA Cup final.

If England reach the World Cup final in Germany, it would mean Gerrard will have been playing for exactly a year after starting out with Liverpool on their Champions League qualification programme in early July.

But there will be no complaints from Gerrard who is keen to make up for lost time after being blighted by injury problems during the early part of his career.

He said: 'I want to play. I want to play in every game. I think during my career I've missed enough football and enough matches so I want to play in as many games as I can.

'Playing football for 12 months is a long time but I won't have any complaints if I am playing in the World Cup final!'

Gerrard has extra reason to succeed this summer after being forced to miss the last World Cup in Japan following groin surgery.

He said: 'To sit at home bandaged up after groin surgery was probably one of the lowest points of my career.

'But I've got a great chance in the summer to put that behind me and have a successful tournament for myself individually and for the team.'

In addition to Gerrard, Eriksson was also missing Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney and skipper David Beckham from his squad when they trained for the first time in Portugal.

Campbell and Cole will be on Champions League duty for Arsenal in tomorrow's final against Barcelona while Rooney is continuing to have treatment for his broken metatarsal with Manchester United.

Beckham will join up with the squad tomorrow after Real Madrid complete their domestic programme.