• Sweden v England

Gerrard not targeting Beckham's caps record

ESPN staff
November 13, 2012

Steven Gerrard insists he does not care if he usurps David Beckham's tally of England caps, as the Liverpool man prepares to pick up his 100th against Sweden on Wednesday.

Beckham is second on the all-time England list for number of caps won, picking up 115 during his time on the international scene. Only Peter Shilton has more (125), meaning Beckham is the most capped outfield player.

At 32 years of age Gerrard could possibly overtake Beckham, particularly as he sets his sights on qualifying for - and then competing in - the 2014 World Cup.

"David's a hero of mine, I earned a lot of my England caps alongside him. But it's not really important to me whether I beat his England caps or not," Gerrard said at Tuesday's press conference.

"My main focus is to get this team to qualify for the next major tournament."

The England skipper did admit that the occasion of his 100th cap is affecting him, revealing: "I'm excited and slightly nervous, which I haven't been in an England shirt for a while because there's a bit more attention on me with getting to the milestone.

"I try to be a driving force, I try to make things happen on the pitch, and I try to lead by example. I still feel there are a few chapters to write [in my England career].

Gerrard was sat alongside coach Roy Hodgson, who created headlines by calling up youngster Wilfried Zaha from Championship side Crystal Palace. Hodgson explained that he had wanted to sign Zaha when he managed West Brom.

"He's not chosen on what he does in one or two training sessions. He was a transfer target of mine at West Brom, I know what he can do, and when the gap arose in the squad it was the obvious thing to do," Hodgson said.

A theory has been floated that Zaha was only called up in order to protect him from being plucked by Ivory Coast, whom he could also represent at international level. Hodgson rejected such an idea.

"If any player prefers to play for another country other than England, they're welcome to do so," he said, before revealing he will not play Jack Wilshere for 90 minutes in Stockholm.

"There's no arrangement. I'm surprised that we've got him, because when I spoke to him two months ago he was just recovering. I said to him he could share the journey with us [in Sweden].

"But he's back, he's played three or four games, and we can use him for part of the game. There's never been any intention to start him and use him for 90 minutes."

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