Return of Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney will fire England to World Cup predicts Steven Gerrard

Captain confident return of injured strikers will make the difference

Steven Gerrard believes the return of Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney will give England the firepower they need to qualify for the World Cup.

Tuesday's 0-0 draw in Ukraine moved England one point clear at the top of their qualifying group, but the laboured performance in Kiev did little to satisfy those who fear the team will not qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The only qualifying wins Roy Hodgson has chalked up so far came against Moldova and San Marino, but Gerrard moved to assuage fears that England are destined to fail in their qualification bid.

The skipper pointed out, quite rightly, that England have an impeccable recent record at Wembley - the Three Lions are unbeaten at home under Hodgson - and he was also buoyed by the probable return of injured duo Rooney and Sturridge for the final two games against Montenegro and Poland.

"I think we lacked a little bit of a cutting edge in the final third, against Ukraine, but that isn't a worry because there are some big players missing for England at the moment," the England captain said.

"If we can get Rooney and Sturridge fit they will be two big players for us, and they are the type of players you will need to break down the two teams we are coming up against.

"Our record is quite good at Wembley. We proved that by beating Brazil there so if we defend as we did against Ukraine and have a little bit more of that cutting edge in the final third, we will get there. I am really confident we can get the job done."

Gerrard is looking forward in particular to seeing Liverpool team-mate Sturridge line up for the Three Lions.

Sturridge was the obvious replacement for Rooney when he was ruled out, but the 24-year-old had to pull out himself because of a thigh problem.

Sturridge has had a stop-start international career - mainly due to him being played out of position while at Chelsea - but he seems to have found contentment since his move to Liverpool, where he has scored five goals in four games.

"The stage is set for Daniel if he can get himself fit," Gerrard added.

"He is in terrific form."

Despite severe criticism of the performance from Gary Lineker among others, Gerrard insisted the result was "terrific" for England as he thinks it would have been a "disaster" had the Three Lions lost.

The 33-year-old went to great lengths to accentuate the positives from the game in the former Soviet state.

Gerrard praised England's defence for withstanding a barrage of attacks from the hosts and he also lauded Joe Hart for his two displays against Ukraine and Moldova.

"Joe did everything needed of him and I am sure these two clean sheets will do wonders for his confidence," Gerrard said.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific