Eng­land hun­gry to re­store nation’s pride says Ger­rard

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Sport -

Cap­tain Steven Ger­rard ad­mits Eng­land are in a must­win sit­u­a­tion but “wants to make the nation proud” with vic­tory over Slove­nia in to­day’s World Cup clash in port El­iz­a­beth.

The mid­fielder in­sists the play­ers have a “hunger and de­sire” to make amends for the woe­ful per­for­mance dur­ing the goal­less draw with Al­ge­ria on Fri­day.

Eng­land have to beat cur­rent Group C lead­ers Slove­nia to make sure of their place in the last 16 and Ger­rard knows there has to be a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment.

The Liver­pool cap­tain wants a re- turn to the form demon­strated dur­ing the qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign when Fabio Capello’s side won nine of their 10 matches.

The 30-year-old said last night: “It is a do-or-die sit­u­a­tion. We need to per­form, we need to im­prove on the last per­for­mance.

“The train­ing was very sharp this morn­ing and hope­fully ev­ery­one can do the busi­ness.

“In the last per­for­mance, we didn’t do what we did in the qual­i­fy­ing games.

“In those, we were con­fi­dent, played ag­gres­sive foot­ball, pressed re­ally well and were also very com­pact and dif­fi­cult to beat.

“There were things missing from the Al­ge­rian per­for­mance and we want to get those back.

“We want to start the game re­ally well, play com­pact and be dif­fi­cult to beat, but also have the cut­ting edge in the fi­nal third to score goals.”

Ger­rard also feels deeply the need to pla­cate the thou­sands of Eng­land fans in South Africa af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle against Al­ge­ria was greeted with boos.

He said: “We have come into this tour­na­ment with big ex­pec­ta­tions, we have big sup­port out here.

“Peo­ple have paid good money and ex­pect us to win foot­ball matches. We as play­ers take re­spon­si­bil­ity for un­der-per­form­ing in the last game.

“The idea is to put in a good per­for­mance, win the game and change the per­cep­tion of how we have done so far.

“We want to make the nation proud and happy and a good win can give the play­ers more con­fi­dence.”

Ger­rard added: “You can see the play­ers hurt from the Al­ge­rian per­for­mance. We let the coun­try down by un­der-per­form­ing and I can see the hunger in the guys.

“We can’t wait for the game to start to put it right.

“We haven’t en­joyed the crit­i­cism, the last cou­ple of days, and that feel­ing you get when you haven’t done your­self jus­tice.”

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