• World Cup

Hodgson hails captain Gerrard

ESPN staff
October 16, 2013
Steven Gerrard netted England's second before the end © PA Photos

Roy Hodgson has paid tribute to captain Steven Gerrard after England secured their place at next year's World Cup with a victory over Poland at Wembley.

The Three Lions topped Group H ahead of the Ukraine thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard, and Hodgson was full of praise for his skipper.

"I can't speak highly enough of him," Hodgson said. "He's got a fantastic quality, Steven. Where I talk a lot and don't often say things that are particularly memorable, every time he opens his mouth he says something that I wish I'd have said.

"His other great quality is that he leads by example. When I called him up when I got the job and I said 'I'd like you to be the captain', he said he'd like to be captain, 'I'll take it very seriously and do my best whenever I can'. It's exactly what he's delivered over the last 18 months.

"Everyone looks up to Steven as he's such a good player. He doesn't have to scream and shout, all he has to do is do what he does. He's very, very supportive of all the players, he encourages them and urges them on. He's not a screamer or shouter but he does talk to the players.

"He, perhaps more than anybody, should be really proud of this World Cup qualifying campaign. He's going to be desperate to make sure that when he leaves Brazil, he'll have memories of not only a good qualifying campaign, but memories of a good World Cup campaign."

Hodgson also hit back at accusations that his side had been too defensive throughout the qualifying campaign.

"I think we had an attacking policy in the first game. I don't quite understand working from the basis of a game in Ukraine, where our attacking wasn't the best, how we suddenly became an offensive side overnight," he said.

"When it comes to selection a major factor are players available. A major factor for the last four games has been a lot of players have been available - very talented players we would have liked all along."

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