Steven Gerrard: "It's down to the whole squad to replace Lampard and Barry at Euro 2012'

 

Steven Gerrard insisted it would be down to the whole England squad to cover for the loss of Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry at Euro 2012.

Gerrard will lead into the tournament short of experienced midfield partners after Lampard was ruled out through injury yesterday, joining Barry on the sidelines.

"I think the responsibility is on the whole squad," Gerrard said. "They are big players for the team and will be missed, but as a group we share the responsibility.

"It might alter my position slightly but we'll have to wait and see what the manager decides to do."

Lampard was injured in training on Wednesday, but Gerrard said there had been no change in approach as a result.

"It's a huge blow that Frank's got to go home, particularly on the back of Gareth Barry as well, but in training players have got to give it 100%. You can't afford to ease back or relax because sometimes you can pick up injuries that way as well.

"Training today was very high tempo, very physical as normal and thankfully everyone came through. Fingers crossed the squad can stay in good condition now."

Lampard's disappointment became Jordan Henderson's opportunity as Gerrard's Liverpool team-mate got the call to replace him in Roy Hodgson's squad.

"He's buzzing," Gerrard said of Henderson. "He didn't want it to happen this way because no one wants to see another player get injured, but you have to take your opportunities.

"He's a great player for the future and he's excited by this opportunity."

Henderson's call-up takes the Liverpool contingent in the squad to five, something Gerrard believes is a good sign for a club under new management today with the appointment of Brendan Rodgers at Anfield.

"There have been times in the squad where I've been here flying solo so to have five here is a good sign for our club and a good sign for England too," he said.

Gerrard revealed he had talked to several of his England colleagues from Chelsea who had previously worked with Rodgers, and he has been encouraged by what he has heard.

"I'm excited," he said. "I'm really looking forward to working with Brendan, really looking forward to meeting him in person, but I'm sure everyone understands my main focus is on England at the moment.

"What I can go on record and say is that Brendan was the first choice. I was in the loop all the way along with the owners and board and he was the first choice."

Current England manager Hodgson is one of Rodgers' predecessors at Anfield but his ill-fated spell in charge was brief.

However, Gerrard is enjoying the coach's influence with England as he has introduced a more relaxed atmosphere than under Fabio Capello.

"It is relaxed, it is fun, but at the same time the hard work and graft is getting done as well," Gerrard said.

"I think that's the way you've got to do things. Make sure the work gets done, but also enjoy it too. As a player you don't get too many opportunities to go to a big tournament so you have to enjoy it."

Given the disruption caused by Capello's departure and Hodgson's late appointment, England's expectations at the Euros have been downscaled considerably, but Gerrard insisted there is still no shortage of ambition within the squad.

"Of course we're ambitious," he said. "We still have to have that belief that we can go and do well. We don't want to cause unnecessary expectation but we still believe we can go there and do really well."

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