England hungry to restore nation’s pride says Gerrard
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.”