ANDY GRAY'S COLUMN: Gerrard's a Loss but It's Not the End of the World.(Sport)

Sunday Mirror (London, England), May 19, 2002 | Go to article overview
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ANDY GRAY'S COLUMN: Gerrard's a Loss but It's Not the End of the World.(Sport)


Byline: ANDY GRAY

WHY is it that every time England pick up an injury to a big player some people throw in the towel and start talking about the team being on the first plane home?

Forget all this rubbish from the World Cup party poopers and the merchants of doom.

Injuries are part of the game and although they create problems, you have to stay strong and get on with it.

Losing Steven Gerrard is a big blow but it's not the end of the world. England might well go out in the first stages because they are in a tough group but you should look for the positives like Beckham and Dyer getting fit, not the negatives.

In many ways losing Gerrard is more serious than losing Beckham because of his versatility.

Gerrard proved against Paraguay he was more than able to cover for the loss of the England skipper. I am not sure there is any natural cover for Gerrard but there's still no need to look up the top 10 "if only" excuses.

England still have some great players and they are not alone in facing injury problems as we reach the final countdown to the World Cup.

Sweden, Argentina and Nigeria might well be relieved Gerrard won't be around but there are still those who will cause them plenty of problems.

Beckham is now jogging and looks like he is on target to start against the Swedes, and if you believe all the vibes coming out of the Dyer camp he will also be fit. That will have lifted the squad.

If, for any reason, Beckham doesn't make the Sweden game England really will be in trouble. But, otherwise, their chances remain the same as they were before the news about Gerrard.

So who do you play in place of Gerrard? Danny Murphy is a possibility but he is not as influential as his Liverpool team-mate and England can't afford to go into the World Cup with four attack-minded midfielders.

If you look at all the great teams in domestic football they all have a defensive midfielder who dictates the play.

Gerrard would have done that job, allowing Beckham, Dyer and Scholes to get forward. If you put Murphy in there, I am not sure it will work.

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