Stewart Downing backs Steven Gerrard for England captaincy

 

Stewart Downing believes his Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard would make an excellent England captain.

England go into Wednesday's friendly with Holland without a permanent manager and skipper following Fabio Capello's resignation and the Football Association's decision to strip John Terry of the armband.

Stuart Pearce takes charge of tomorrow's match and Downing feels he could do worse than hand the captaincy to Gerrard.

"He's captained Liverpool for many years and done very well and if picked for England would do that job well," the winger said at a press conference.

"He's a big player for Liverpool and England, has a great influence on England and drives teams on so if he is given the captaincy then great."

Downing, who was man of the match when Liverpool won the Carling Cup yesterday, also hopes club captain Gerrard does not choose to end his international career after Euro 2012.

"He certainly has (a lot to offer)," he said. "I've not spoken to Steven about if he will retire after the tournament. I'll be selfish and hope he stays on."

Downing insists not knowing yet who the England manager will be at the European Championships is not a distraction for the squad.

He said: "We've got a big tournament coming up in the summer. It's a good test for us against the Dutch. They've got a strong squad, but I'm confident we can get a result.

"Every time a new manager comes in it's a fresh start for us. It's a challenge to impress a manager and you need challenges in football to keep you going.

"I think we have to be strong-minded and concentrate on the games. The FA will take care of the new manager, at the moment Stuart Pearce is in charge and we are right behind him.

"I think every one is touting (Tottenham boss) Harry (Redknapp), he's obviously the favourite to get the job. If he gets the job the players will obviously do their best, but at the moment it's Stuart Pearce."

PA

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