England v France: We fear Steven Gerrard, says Yohan Cabaye

Newcastle United's Yohan Cabaye admits France fear England's "inspirational" Steven Gerrard ahead of their tie on Monday

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff
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Roy Hodgson appointed Steven Gerrard as England captain PA Photos

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Yohan Cabaye admits France “fear” England captain Steven Gerrard ahead of their Euro 2012 Group D opener against Roy Hodgson’s men on Monday.

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The 26-year-old, who is gearing up for his first major tournament with Les Bleus, was a revelation for Newcastle United after moving to the Premier League from Lille in August 2011.

France have never suffered defeat by England at past European championships and are currently on a seven-game unbeaten run against the Three Lions.

In addition, Laurent Blanc’s men are without a defeat in nine competitive games – but Cabaye insists France will not be taking England’s threat lightly, and pointed to talismanic Liverpool midfielder Gerrard as the opposition’s key player.

“Who do we fear most? Steven Gerrard is a very important player,” said Cabaye. “He is very powerful and an inspirational player, a leader.

“He is the soul of this team, the captain, and will be like a king in this game. He can be very aggressive going forward but defensively he is also important. It is important to try and nullify him.”

England v France: Pre-match facts

• England came through their eight qualifying games – five wins and three draws – unbeaten. Their last competitive defeat was a 4-1 reverse against Germany in the 2010 World Cup round of 16 on 27 June 2010, their all-time heaviest loss at a major tournament.

• Sven-Goran Eriksson’s team came unstuck in the closing stages of their Euro 2004 opener; with England 1-0 up, David Beckham had a penalty saved by Fabien Barthez and they then conceded two Zinédine Zidane goals in added time.

• France have six players with previous European championship experience, all from 2008: Steve Mandanda, Malouda, Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri, Patrice Evra and Franck Ribéry.

• Ashley Cole has gone a record 94 outfield appearances without an England goal. Gary Neville, a member of the coaching staff at Euro 2012, set the previous mark of 85.

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