England captain Steven Gerrard has set his sights firmly set on David Beckham's international appearance record and believes lifting the World Cup in Brazil next year might just not be the impossible dream for Roy Hodgson's squad.
The 32-year-old Liverpool midfielder was honoured by the Football Writers' Association at a gala tribute dinner in London last night, where England manager Hodgson was among the guests at The Savoy Hotel.
Gerrard passed the milestone of a century of England caps against Sweden in November.
The Three Lions currently sit second in Group H, two points behind Montenegro ahead of the March double header with trips to whipping boys San Marino and then the leaders in Podgorica.
Were Hodgson's men to go on to secure safe qualification for the finals in Brazil and Gerrard remain injury free, then the midfielder would close up on Beckham's landmark of 115 which is the most for an outfield player.
It is a target the 32-year-old - whose England career started against Ukraine in 2000 and has taken in two World Cups as well as three European Championships - feels is within reach.
"My personal ambitions are to get as many caps as I can - I have got David Beckham's record in my sights, so I am going to try to beat that because he is a special player," Gerrard said.
While the England skipper is all too aware safe passage to Brazil 2014 is anything but secure, Gerrard sees no reason why Hodgson's squad should not be confident of making a major impact at the tournament, which would signal the final World Cup of the so-called 'Golden Generation'.
"I don't want to raise expectations, I am sure it will probably go through the roof if and when we get there, so I don't really want to talk about the World Cup until we actually get there, we still have some important games to play, but I am confident we can achieve it (qualification)," Gerrard said.
"As I always say going into a major tournament, you need to get that bit of luck and when the ball drops your way, I think you can achieve the impossible - I have done it before with Liverpool, and we have seen Chelsea do it last year (in the Champions League).
"It is not necessarily all the time that the best teams win these competitions, so we can go into there with hope and belief.
"We have got some big players coming back from injury, like Jack Wilshere, who is going to play a big part.
"If you look at his game and his personality, he is another top player coming into the side and there are a batch of young players coming through and they can grow and hopefully peak before the World Cup."
Hodgson paid his own personal written tribute to Gerrard's character for the FWA.
The England manager wrote: "I know how good a player he is, how serious a professional he is and I know how inspiring a captain he can be - I saw that during my time at Liverpool, on occasions when things weren't going so well, he was the one who stepped up and grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck by his performances and encouragement to drag people through.
"Steven has a great enthusiasm and passion to play, and that can be infectious to other players.
"I can see him playing for many years to come... he is young enough in body and mind to look certainly towards 2014 and maybe beyond."
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