| Germany’s Lukas Podolski, during training, on Thursday |
London: England captain Steven Gerrard insisted that Friday’s World Cup warm-up game against Peru gives the players a chance to ‘impress’ manager Roy Hodgson ahead of next month’s World Cup in Brazil.
Asked in a press conference which players have impressed him, Gerrard said: “The young lads have done fantastically well and we have two great players fighting for every position in the starting XI. Everyone is working hard and we will be a force to reckon with.
“Everyone is capable of being picked in the starting XI and that keeps the standard high. They have a chance to impress us against Peru. Hopefully we all come through the game.”
England are placed in Group D along with Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica. They will begin their campaign against Italy in Manaus on June 14.
Earlier in the day, former England midfielder Paul Scholes said that England should have a similar attacking style to Liverpool’s and suggested that at least four Liverpool players should start against Italy.
Gerrard, who is also the Liverpool captain, says he has faith in Hodgson’s strategy and it is not a must that they should follow Liverpool style. “It does make me feel proud and happy that players appreciate Liverpool style. But the players I am playing alongside are very good and very positive.
“That is something that we as a club can build on next season, but what people need to understand is that this is England — a group of players being selected from throughout the Premier League, and we are going to be playing Roy Hodgson’s way and the England way. We have faith in our coach and hopefully he will guide us to our second World Cup title,” said Gerrard.
Hodgson has no injury concerns ahead of Friday’s friendly clash with Peru, although full-back Luke Shaw is a doubt due to a cold. “We have no injury concerns, although unfortunately, yesterday Luke Shaw developed a slight cold. We are very cautious, so he travelled down separately and didn’t train today.
“I couldn’t tell you at this moment in time if he will recover for tomorrow, but it is a very minor issue that will quickly go over. Whether it will go over in time for him to take part tomorrow, I won’t know until tomorrow morning.”
After this game, England fly to the United States to take on Ecuador and Honduras before their World Cup campaign begins. Hodgson admits his focus on things further ahead means the Peru game ‘seems to have come out of nowhere’.
Even so, he insists he is still very much unsure about what his starting line-up will be for the Italy match, and also stressed England will be taking the Peru encounter seriously.
Asked how near he was to knowing his first XI for the Italy match, Hodgson said: “Not that near, simply because the performances of the players in training have been so good and there are so many that are obviously keen to stake their claim that I have to admit it is not going to be an easy choice. But that is how it should be and how I expect it to be.
“Of course, there are a number of senior players who will undoubtedly feature, but there are a lot of positions around those senior players that are up for grabs and at the moment everyone is doing their best to grab them.” He added: “I would defy anyone to second-guess my first XI at the moment.”
On the Peru match, he said: “This game is a little bit strange. We have done so much focusing on so many things we wanted to establish for when we go to Miami next week and the real countdown for our matches in Brazil begins, that this game suddenly seems to have come out of nowhere.
“When you are normally with England, you spend all of your time preparing for the opponent, you talk a lot about them and how you are going to play against them.
“I must admit that on this occasion our work has been much more focused on June 14, but it is a game we are looking forward to and certainly one we are going to take very seriously. We are desperate to leave England having left behind a good impression for our fans.”