• World Cup

England capable of World Cup glory - Gerrard

ESPN staff
September 6, 2013
ESPN FC: Roy Hodgson's injury problems

Steven Gerrard insists that England are still capable of success at next year's World Cup even if winning the tournament looks beyond them.

FA chairman Greg Dyke had played down England's chance of success in Brazil, telling the BBC's Today programme: "I don't think anyone realistically thinks we are going to win the World Cup in Brazil. It doesn't mean we can't do well in Brazil as long as we qualify."

And Gerrard agreed with that sentiment, admitting that although England won't travel to South America among the favourites following a poor run of form in qualifying, they are still capable of performing to a higher standard than some are currently claiming.

"I don't think we're as weak as has been suggested," he said. "Realistically, everyone in the room knows we're not going to be one of the bookies' favourites to win the World Cup.

"It doesn't mean we can't get there and have a successful tournament to make the country proud."

Gerrard also pointed out that it is important England cannot afford to look too far ahead and must keep the objective of actually qualifying for the competition as their primary focus ahead of the games against Moldova and Ukraine.

"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves. Our priority is to get there first," Gerrard added.

"To qualify is the challenge. We want to qualify for the World Cup, go there and make the nation proud. We can do that without winning it.

"Playing at a World Cup is the pinnacle of any footballer's dream as a kid -- especially in Brazil."

Roy Hodgson agreed with his captain's statement but preferred to concentrate on reaching the tournament as opposed to looking further ahead.

"I don't think many people will be racing out to place bets on England to win the World Cup. Our first job is to get there and work very hard with the young guys so that, when we get there, they can help the older guys. Then we have to do our best.

"Even if we qualify well and do very well between then and the tournament, I doubt very much we will be amongst the bookmakers' favourites."

Hodgson was also quick to defend Dyke's comments, saying that the current crop of players have not been written off by the FA chairman.

"We don't believe our chairman sees anything as a doomed mission," Hodgson said. "He also said in his speech how much he supports the team and hopes we get to Brazil and do well. I prefer to go along that route. I don't think he's giving up on the team. That would be harsh on him and even harsher on the team. They don't deserve that."

Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge will miss the game against Moldova through injury although it is hoped that Sturridge, who has returned to Liverpool for treatment, may be able to travel for the game in Ukraine on Tuesday.

Hodgson is set to start Southampton striker Rickie Lambert in attack after a goal on his debut, in the friendly against Scotland.

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