Swedish captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic hails 'fantastic' Steven Gerrard

 

Swedish captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic has hailed the qualities of England counterpart Steven Gerrard who is set to win his 100th cap in tomorrow's clash between the two countries in Stockholm.

Ibrahimovic believes Gerrard "plays more like an international player rather than a normal English player."

The Liverpool star will clock up his century of appearances for his country providing he suffers no reaction to the knee injury suffered during the weekend draw at Chelsea.

Ibrahimovic said: "I think Steven Gerrard is a fantastic player. He has been loyal to his club, he has won some big trophies with the club.

"He always plays at a high level when he is not injured.

"He is a very good person to have as a team-mate in your team. He always gives 200%, is a good fighter and has good skills and a good touch with the ball also.

"He feels more like an international player rather than a normal English player.

"English players have big hearts always fighting, very aggressive but for me Gerrard for me feels more international.

"He has more skills than the normal player."

Swedish coach Eric Hamren echoed Ibrahimovic's sentiments.

He said: "I really like him as a player. He has something extra. I'm sorry he has had some injuries which have maybe stopped his top level.

"But when he is not injured, he is a top player because of his skills to read the game and his skills to make the passes, especially the long ones.

"He has shown how good he is for England and his club."

Ibrahimovic is excited about Fulham winger Alexander Kacaniklic who scored in the weekend 3-3 draw at Arsenal and is starting to establish himself in the Sweden side.

The Paris St Germain player said: "He has a great left foot and has done well for his club and fantastically here with the national team and is making a real impact."

Hamren said: "He is a great talent who has been given a lot of playing time and confidence.

"With that combination, you can develop very fast. It is wonderful to watch him. He is very speedy and has impressed me.

"He has taken his chances in the three internationals he has played."

Defender Andreas Granqvist insists the Swedish players want revenge for their Euro 2012 exit at the hands of England.

Granqvist claims it is "never a friendly against England" ahead of tomorrow's clash.

The Genoa player, who has been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool, missed the climax of the 3-2 defeat to England in Kiev in June.

Granqvist felt that setback was undeserved as Sweden look to build on the buoyant mood still evident after recovering from 4-0

He said: "We have a good history against England, one of the biggest teams in the world.

"It is a friendly but you can never say it is a friendly against England.

"Losing to them in the summer was a low point. We played well against them and maybe a draw would have been the correct result from that game.

"Now we have to look forward and the game on Wednesday hopefully we can get some payment back for the summer."

PA

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