• England

Gerrard backs Wilshere as England captain

ESPN staff
August 14, 2013
England captains present and future? © Getty Images

Steven Gerrard has backed Jack Wilshere to succeed him as England captain, as he believes the Arsenal midfielder has all the qualities required to emerge as a natural leader.

Despite Wilshere set to only earn his eighth senior cap against Scotland at Wembley, Gerrard has been impressed by what he has seen of the Gunners talisman after training alongside him with the national team.

In a glowing tribute to Wilshere, Gerrard told reporters at England's training HQ in Burton that he had 'no doubt' the Arsenal youngster would join him in the 100 cap club at international level and is already envisaging the start of his tenure as national team skipper.

"I'm sure once he gets to my age, he will probably be sitting in my position with the armband on talking about another 100-cap player, he is that good," said Gerrard.

"His quality, his example in training every day, he seems a level-headed kid. He wants to learn, he loves England, he's going to be around the top for a long, long time. He ticks a lot of boxes when it comes down to other players following his lead.

"Jack's got many strengths to his game and I'm itching to get out there and show we can form a good partnership. A lot of people have spoken about it for a long time but we haven't managed to be fit at the same time and have a run of games together.

"But I think with the right amount of time we can form a partnership that will complement each other and I believe we can give anyone a game."

Gerrard insisted he didn't want to pile pressure on Wilshere with his comments, but he accepted the youngster has already become a crucial performer for England despite his tender years.

"Of course Jack is important," said Gerrard. "We've spoken many a time about the fact that for this team to move forward and improve we need all our fit and top players available. Even though he's young, without adding pressure on him, he's one of the best players in the squad.

"Obviously I'm really paranoid about putting too much pressure on any player, especially Jack, but he certainly has the quality to do that.

"Fingers crossed, he stays fit and is available for the next four qualifiers because for me, coming to the end of an England career, I want to make the most of my last bit of time. Hopefully Jack can help us achieve something."

Gerrard went on to suggest this will be his final year as an England international, as he hinted he will be "out of the picture" after next summer's World Cup finals in Brazil.

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