Return of Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney will fire England to World Cup predicts Steven Gerrard
Captain confident return of injured strikers will make the difference
Thursday 12 September 2013
Steven Gerrard believes the return of Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney will give England the firepower they need to qualify for the World Cup.
Tuesday's 0-0 draw in Ukraine moved England one point clear at the top of their qualifying group, but the laboured performance in Kiev did little to satisfy those who fear the team will not qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The only qualifying wins Roy Hodgson has chalked up so far came against Moldova and San Marino, but Gerrard moved to assuage fears that England are destined to fail in their qualification bid.
The skipper pointed out, quite rightly, that England have an impeccable recent record at Wembley - the Three Lions are unbeaten at home under Hodgson - and he was also buoyed by the probable return of injured duo Rooney and Sturridge for the final two games against Montenegro and Poland.
"I think we lacked a little bit of a cutting edge in the final third, against Ukraine, but that isn't a worry because there are some big players missing for England at the moment," the England captain said.
"If we can get Rooney and Sturridge fit they will be two big players for us, and they are the type of players you will need to break down the two teams we are coming up against.
"Our record is quite good at Wembley. We proved that by beating Brazil there so if we defend as we did against Ukraine and have a little bit more of that cutting edge in the final third, we will get there. I am really confident we can get the job done."
Gerrard is looking forward in particular to seeing Liverpool team-mate Sturridge line up for the Three Lions.
Sturridge was the obvious replacement for Rooney when he was ruled out, but the 24-year-old had to pull out himself because of a thigh problem.
Sturridge has had a stop-start international career - mainly due to him being played out of position while at Chelsea - but he seems to have found contentment since his move to Liverpool, where he has scored five goals in four games.
"The stage is set for Daniel if he can get himself fit," Gerrard added.
"He is in terrific form."
Despite severe criticism of the performance from Gary Lineker among others, Gerrard insisted the result was "terrific" for England as he thinks it would have been a "disaster" had the Three Lions lost.
The 33-year-old went to great lengths to accentuate the positives from the game in the former Soviet state.
Gerrard praised England's defence for withstanding a barrage of attacks from the hosts and he also lauded Joe Hart for his two displays against Ukraine and Moldova.
"Joe did everything needed of him and I am sure these two clean sheets will do wonders for his confidence," Gerrard said.
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