Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gerrard Blasts 'Mad' Schedule

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gerrard Blasts 'Mad' Schedule

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL THOMSON

STEVEN GERRARD, who is set to join Liverpool's preseason training camp in Switzerland this week, today criticised the "madness" of England's international schedule which has meant only a brief break from playing.

Gerrard, who was part of Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad that played friendlies against South Africa and Serbia-Montenegro and a Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia at the end of a tiring season, told Football 365: "I've not had as much time off as I would have liked because of England.

"I'm not complaining because I love playing for the national side but the madness of playing after a long hard season was difficult to understand. I don't think anyone agreed with that.

"Of course, you come away from it all and you're drained but you can't lose sight of the fact that the season comes round so quickly."

Some England players, including Everton's Wayne Rooney, are getting extra time off but Gerrard will start his training in Switzerland tomorrow ahead of Liverpool's first preseason friendly against FC Cologne on Wednesday 16 July.

He said: "I don't want to take extra time off because I will be catching everyone else up with my fitness. I just have to take it on the chin and get on with it."

Gerrard was also candid in his evaluation of last season. He said: "It's not one that I like to remember really - it's best forgotten by everyone. It started off crap for me and, if it's possible, it finished even worse. I went through a crisis of form I thought I would never get out of and when I did get my head right the team struggled to perform.

"Worst of all we didn't qualify for the Champions League and that just about ruined everything. I think the fans have been very supportive in the circumstances but even I expect them to get restless if we don't start turning potential into trophies."

COLOMBIAN officials blamed computer hackers after their official website announced that former midfielder Carlos Valderrama had taken over from Francisco Maturana as coach of the national team.

The Colombian Football Federation confirmed that Maturana, who led the team to fourth place in last month's Confederations Cup in France, would still be in charge at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which starts at the weekend in the United States and Mexico. …

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