Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Steve Seeking to Provide G-Force

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Steve Seeking to Provide G-Force

Article excerpt

Byline: By Chris Bascombe

He has been compared to Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira but it is a football icon closer to home Liverpool's Steven Gerrard wants to emulate this summer.

Gerrard hopes to make the same impression on the international stage as Paul Gascoigne during the 1990 World Cup.

So far, the midfielder has only been able to relate to Gazza's tears.

Euro 2000 ended early when a calf injury flared up following a key role in England's win over Germany.

Then Gerrard was ruled out of the 2002 World Cup with groin problems, even prompting the great Brazilian Rivaldo to admit England were weaker without the Scouser's presence.

The 23-year-old is in no mood to suffer more misery this time.

"From the moment we qualified, I haven't been able to stop thinking about the tournament," said Gerrard, who has a proud record of losing just once in 22 England appearances, ironically when he was named captain against Sweden.

"It is going to be an important summer in my career. The last thing I want is to start piling the pressure on myself and I've been praying I stay fit but if I stay in good shape I'm very confident I can have a great tournament and have an impact.

"I've had to wait a long time to show what I can do in a major tournament. It's been frustrating and I don't want to have to go through what I did two years ago again.

"If anything, the setbacks I've been through with England in the past have made me more determined this time. I'll probably appreciate this competition more than I would have had I gone to the World Cup because I've not been part of it as much as I could have been.

"Euro 2000 was really disappointing for me. I had played as a substitute against Germany and Kevin Keegan told me I was going to start against Romania in the group decider.

"Then I picked up a calf injury in training just before the match and that was it.

"Then, to make things even worse, I had to have an operation and miss the World Cup. That was hard to take. I'd given myself every chance to go but in the end I knew if I played my groin problems would go on for another season. …

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