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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 30, 2006

Gerrard enjoys new 'pressure' role

Steven Gerrard revelled in his role of support striker in England's 3-1 win over Hungary but admitted even he cannot replicate Wayne Rooney's magic in Sven-Goran Eriksson's side.

England had been below-par during the first half at Old Trafford with their new-look 4-1-4-1 formation although Frank Lampard had a penalty saved by Hungarian goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly.

Matters improved after the interval with Gerrard and John Terry scoring in quick succession from David Beckham free-kicks.

But Hungarian skipper Pal Dardai pulled one back from long range and it needed a fine save from Paul Robinson to deny Laszlo Eger before Peter Crouch settled the issue with six minutes remaining.

Gerrard told BBC1: 'There was a lot of pressure on me tonight trying to play where Wayne plays. I'm never going to be as good as Wayne Rooney in there but I enjoyed it.

'The formation suits us, Frank is superb breaking from midfield and the manager has told us we can interchange. I thought we created a lot of problems for Hungary.'

He added: 'The most important thing was we won tonight and we won convincingly, we could have been two or three up at half-time but we took our chances in the second half.

'I enjoy playing anywhere, the manager asked me to play just behind Michael, to try to get the ball and make things happen.'

Eriksson was satisfied with the testing warm-up match and praised his side's patience after a goalless first half.

'They (Hungary) were even better than I thought, a good side and technically very good. They scored a fantastic goal and it was a very good test for us,' the England coach told BBC1.

'I'm rather happy with it and I'm sure we'll be playing even better at the World Cup.

'We've been training a lot, we had a very good intensive session yesterday and we trained this morning as well.

'When you meet a team defending with nine men behind the ball, if you can't win the ball and play it forward very quickly it's very difficult because you don't find space.

'You must have patience. I think we had that and started the second half very well with two set-pieces to go 2-0 up.'

Beckham revealed Eriksson and assistant Steve McClaren demanded a different approach in the second half.

The England skipper told BBC Interactive: 'I felt good, that's my job to set goals up and I was lucky to have a few chances. We finished them off well.

'We needed to get this game under our belts because after 20 minutes it was more difficult than we thought.

'They stayed back off us and gave us more time on the ball at the back but in the last minutes of the first half we started to break them down well.

'We knew if we pushed them hard in the second half we would break them down

'The manager and Steve McClaren said at half-time we need to press them higher - if we push them higher we can break them down.'

Beckham believes the injury to Rooney has meant the quality of England's squad has been overlooked.

'I think throughout the squad we have the belief, we've had it for a while,' he added.

'There has been a lot of hype surrounding certain players - we have a lot of players in the squad who can play well and perform.'