I can't wait for the World Cup, says captain fantastic Gerrard

Steven Gerrard may have given one of the performances of his life in Saturday's FA Cup final victory over West Ham, but the Liverpool captain has promised that he will be fit and ready for the World Cup finals after being excused England's training camp in Portugal this week.

The England squad fly to their Portugal training camp today as Sven Goran Eriksson submits his final 23-man squad to Fifa with no changes expected from the list he announced last Monday. The players will be staying in pairs in villas in their base in Faro on the Algarve and the squad's two youngest, uncapped players - Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon - have been placed together.

The weekend belonged to Gerrard, however, and the 25-year-old has said that the rest Eriksson has given him following his remarkable two-goal rescue act for Liverpool, who triumphed 3-1 on penalties after drawing 3-3 after extra time, will be the ideal preparation for the summer in Germany.

Gerrard said that he had been struck down by nothing more severe than an attack of cramps in the closing stages on Saturday.

"Now I'll have a couple of weeks' rest and I'll have a week with my family," he said. "The other [England] boys are going to Portugal but I'm staying and will get some rest before Germany. I can't wait. There's plenty to look forward to. I have said before that we've got a really talented squad and when I've had a bit of rest, I will be raring to go for Germany."

The good news on Gerrard's fitness will be a relief to Eriksson, especially after such a draining game. Gerrard was compared to Zinedine Zidane yesterday by the Liverpool striker Djibril Cissé. "He [Gerrard] is the best player I have played with, him and Zidane," Cissé said. "Zidane is older and Steven is approaching his peak. Steven has a great future."

Gerrard was deployed on the right wing for Liverpool, although the injury to Xabi Alonso eventually forced their manager, Rafael Benitez, to move him to a more central position in the latter stages of the second half.

Benitez said: "You can watch other players and see what they do, but I get to see Steve every training session. He trains well and works hard and afterwards goes out there and plays as he trains. He is one of the best players in the world and can be a key player for the national team.

"England have got a lot of good players and I have a lot of respect for the manager. Gerrard can play in three or four different positions because he is a top-class player. The manager must decide what to do with him. He is more mature now with every trophy, and with every game he plays at this level, he is a little bit better."

Gerrard, who scored his side's equaliser in injury time to take the game to 3-3 and extra time, said that the European Cup final victory over Milan last season had taught Liverpool that "when we're down we're not buried" . He also scored the second of Liverpool's three successful penalties as their goalkeeper Jose Reina stopped spot-kicks from Bobby Zamora, Paul Konchesky and Anton Ferdinand.

Gerrard said: "The manager asked me if I wanted to take a penalty and I asked if I could have the first. He told me: 'No, you're having the third.' I just thought that I had to get up and hit it as hard as I can. In extra time I just didn't want the ball. I just kept looking at the clock and wanting it to run out. I had absolutely nothing left. For my first goal it just sat up really nice to volley it. For my second I had a bit of luck in there as well."

Liverpool's Harry Kewell suffered a torn groin muscle in the final, scans revealed yesterday, but is expected to be fit to join Australia's World Cup squad.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?