Steven Gerrard insists there are 'still a few more chapters to be written' in his England career

 

Steven Gerrard insists there are “still a few more chapters to be written” with England as he prepares to win his 100th cap in tomorrow's encounter with Sweden in Stockholm.

The England captain admits the exciting crop of youngsters at head coach Roy Hodgson's disposal are helping to banish any thoughts of bringing down the curtain on his international career.

Gerrard will join Peter Shilton, Sir Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore, Billy Wright and Bobby Moore in reaching the century mark for England.

But helping England to qualify for the next World Cup is more important to the 32-year-old than the possibility of overhauling Beckham on 115 and becoming his country's most capped outfield player.

Gerrard said: "I can't compare myself to a few of the people who have reached 100 caps because they are World Cup winners. It would be disrespectful to do that.

"It is just very flattering for me to get over the 100 mark and join the other five players who have all been top players in their eras.

"I played with one of them in David Beckham, whom I look up to, and enjoyed a lot of games with.

"The other guys I've seen on tapes and videos and they were unbelievable footballers.

"My England journey has been full of ups and downs, probably the same as a few other England players as well.

"I still feel there are a few chapters to write. I don't feel as if I'm coming to the end.

"I'm happy with my form at the moment in an England shirt and I'm looking forward to helping this team qualify for the World Cup."

Hodgson said: "Anyone who has played 100 times for England, has got to have done an awful lot for their country over a long period of time.

"In particular, I'm grateful for the time we've spent together since I was offered the job and since I asked him to be captain.

"I've been really pleased with the relationship, the football he has played, and exceptionally pleased with the leadership qualities he has brought to the group.

"He is always prepared to give the youngsters the benefit of experience and often he can come to them with a calm, comforting or wise word when they need it."

Gerrard is adamant the likes of Jack Wilshere, Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Zaha make him believe England can achieve the success that has eluded them in tournaments.

He admitted: "After the tournament (Euro 2012) at 32 it crosses your mind 'do you stop playing and give up.'

"But for me, I'm not a quitter, I'm a fighter and if you stay in there and keep fighting, success can happen.

"The young players are one of the main reasons I want to stick around. You talk about Wilshere, Zaha, Sterling, and I can go on and name many more.

"With these young players, and how good they are, they can help me achieve that success.

"People mention David Beckham's record and overtaking it but it is not really important to me if I beat David's record or not.

"My main focus and priority is to get this team to qualify for the next big tournament."

Gerrard concedes his England career has been an up and down affair and he admits to learning more from the low points than the many highs.

He said: "I've had moments to reflect on the 100 caps but I don't think it will really sink in until I retire.

"I'm not an emotional person that shows emotions but I do like to reflect and look back at the good times and also the bad times.

"I've also been been a great believer that you learn more from the bad times and that is what I've tried to do throughout my career.

"They've certainly driven me on to achieve the things I have done in my career."

Gerrard is adamant his knee is fine to face the Swedes after suffering a knock during Liverpool's 1-1 draw at Chelsea on Sunday.

He said: "The knee is okay. I had it checked out yesterday and the scan results were good but it was more of a precautionary scan really.

"With this game being a friendly, there was no point in taking any risks but I got the all clear from the scan which was good news."

Gerrard is keen to stress he has no intentions of quitting Liverpool despite being urged to earlier today by Swedish skipper Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

He said: "I'm a big fan of him as a player but unfortunately I'm not going to take his advice on board.

"I'm really happy at Liverpool, I believe I'm at one of the biggest clubs in the world, a team that has won the European Cup five times."

PA

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