Euro 2012: England are quietly optimistic, says Steven Gerrard
Captain Steven Gerrard believes the lack of hype surrounding Roy Hodgson's squad could work in England's favour at Euro 2012
Steven Gerrard says England are “quietly confident” about their chances at the European championship ahead of the final warm-up game against Belgium at Wembley on Saturday.
Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard both suffered injuries ruling them out of the tournament, with Phil Jagielka and Jordan Henderson drafted into Roy Hodgson’s squad as replacements.
But despite the notable absentees, the 33-year-old believes the lack of hype surrounding their campaign could prove to be the catalyst for success.
“Are expectations coming down all the time? Maybe with the supporters and people around looking at this squad with no [Jack] Wilshere, [Tom] Cleverley, Barry, Lampard,” said England captain Gerrard.
“Of course, people wonder whether we’re capable of coping without those players. But we can’t control what people say and think. We’ve got to get on with it and give it our best shot.
“We’re quietly confident but we don’t want to raise expectations unnecessarily. We’re all aware that we’ve under-delivered in previous tournaments.
“We don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves. We want to try and enjoy the tournament and hopefully we can play at a better level.”
Henderson, signed by Liverpool from Sunderland in a £20m deal last July, will travel to his first international tournament after being drafted in to replace Champions League winner Lampard.
And Gerrard is backing his club team-mate to be a success in years to come, adding that Henderson’s detractors forget the former Black Cats midfielder is only 21.
“Jordan has had a little bit of criticism but, credit to him, he’s played through it. He was getting stronger and stronger towards the end of the season,” Gerrard added.
“He did well when he came on against Norway. The manager’s seen a lot of him in the under-21s where he’s been fantastic. He’s got a very bright future.
“People judge Jordan on his price tag [£20m], rather than his age, his potential and what he’s going to do in the future.
“He’s still got everything ahead of him. I was nowhere near the finished article at 20-21, and had a lot of learning and improving to do, and I’m sure Jordan will do the same.”