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Premier League

Hodgson delighted with Gerrard commitment

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has welcomed captain Steven Gerrard's decision to publicly commit himself to the club.

The 30-year-old midfielder, who has been linked with a summer move to Real Madrid, backed Hodgson's plans, welcomed the arrival of new signing Joe Cole and said he was looking forward to playing alongside his England team-mate.

And that has delighted Hodgson, who has met Gerrard only briefly since taking over from Rafael Benitez on July 1.

"It's a great piece of news," said the 62-year-old Englishman.

"There won't be anyone in Liverpool today who isn't delighted to hear that.

"I'm really pleased about it because I've got great respect for Steven Gerrard.

"He's a player who I was really looking forward to working with when I came to Liverpool.

"It seems now with that commitment that this will happen. It gives everyone a boost without question.

"It will be a tough season, with a lot of matches and the disappointment of last season is going to take a while to dissipate, but it is very good that our best player is still going to be playing at this club.

"Hopefully with the signing of Joe Cole - and if we are lucky one or two others, to boost the squad - we will be going into this season's competition, maybe stronger on paper than we were last season."

Gerrard said he had not spoken out before as he wanted to concentrate on the World Cup and then take some time out away from the game.

But the midfielder, who has been unhappy at suggestions he wanted to leave Anfield, said there was no doubt where he wanted to be next season.

"I made it clear that I simply needed to concentrate on the World Cup and then have a decent holiday with my family," he said.

"I wanted the chance to meet Roy Hodgson privately and having done so, I'm very impressed with his plans for the future.

"I've only returned to training today at Melwood with some of the other World Cup players, but I can't wait for the new season to start.

"I know Joe well through the England set-up so it will be fantastic to play alongside him in a red shirt for Liverpool.

"It is a great signing for us. I have seen first-hand just how good a player he is."