England's stuttering victory over Hungary on Wednesday night proved one thing at least – that if you want to provide a platform that will bring the best out of Steven Gerrard, play him in the centre of midfield rather than wide on the left.
The stand-in captain took centre stage at Wembley, and responded with two wonderful goals to cap off a display of passion and energy that did more than just lift the post-South Africa gloom.
Gerrard's strikes in a 2-1 win have bought Fabio Capello more time, and the England manager could be minded to reward the Liverpool man with a decent run playing in the centre of the midfield, with a remit to venture forward as often as he can.
After the game Gerrard would not go so far as to tell Capello where he should play, but he got his message across. "I was happy in the first half playing in the middle of a three and I was happy in the second half when I got moved further forward," Gerrard said.
"You'll have to ask the manager what position I'll play in moving forward but I'm obviously happy in a central position because that is where I grew up playing. I enjoyed the game and was really pleased with my performance besides the goals. Obviously I'm delighted with the goals but I'm not sure what the manager will decide to do with the next team."
He also seemed to be more comfortable in his role as captain, although Capello made it clear afterwards that the armband will be returned to Rio Ferdinand as soon as the Manchester United defender returns to fitness.
Gerrard praised the character shown by England's young hopefuls, particularly in the second half after they fell behind to an own goal scored by Phil Jagielka.
"The young lads were superb," he added. "To get thrown in at the deep end like that at Wembley when the crowd are against the team and on the back of a disappointing World Cup, I thought the young lads handled themselves superbly. We hung in there and showed character and balls. We got our rewards in the end. So it's a good feeling to come away with a win in the end."Reuse content