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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Gerrard boost for England

The Football Association have confirmed Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard returned to training with England today.

Gerrard's fitness has been the subject of intense debate in the build-up to Saturday's crucial Euro 2008 clash with Israel at Wembley.

Despite playing only once since breaking a toe in Liverpool's Champions League qualifying round win in Toulouse last month, the 26-year-old midfielder has assured McClaren he will be fit for the weekend.

McClaren has pointedly refused to rule out the option of giving Gerrard a pain-killing injection to get him through the match, providing there was no long-term risk to the player, even though Reds boss Rafael Benitez has urged England not to.

However, all parties recognise it would be better if Gerrard was able to get through the game without resorting to such measures.

And, after missing training yesterday, there was some good news emerging from England's Hertfordshire headquarters this evening, with confirmation Gerrard was finally able to join his team-mates in their preparation for Saturday's game.

'Steven Gerrard played a part in training today,' said a statement issued by the FA.

'He will be continually assessed by the England medical staff and a decision on his fitness for Saturday's game will be taken later in the week.'