England captain Steven Gerrard insists he is fit and healthy for Tuesday’s game against Ukraine after being replaced at half-time in Friday’s 5-0 win in Moldova.
The Liverpool midfielder was taken off at the break with the score at 3-0 in the Three Lions’ opening qualifying match for the 2014 World Cup.
The 32-year-old later revealed that he did not have an injury problem and “hoped” he was only brought off to save his legs for the match against Ukraine.
“I hope so,” Gerrard told Sky Sports News, when asked if he went off at half-time just to rest.
“There are no problems at all, I’m fit and fine.”
The captain was pleased with his side’s performance in what he thought could be a potentially tricky match.
He added: “I think when you come up against nations like this, ideally you want to finish the game by half-time.
“Sometimes they make it difficult and put a lot of men behind the ball but I thought we pressed them really high, won the ball high up and we were lethal in front of goal.”
While Gerrard was captaining the senior England side, Liverpool team-mate Jonjo Shelvey was starring in the Under-21s’ 2-0 win over Azerbaijan.
The 20-year-old revealed how Gerrard had been a role model, and how he hopes to emulate him by excelling for Liverpool and England.
“Stevie is a great role model,” Shelvey told The Daily Mail.
“He’s been doing it for club and country for years.
“I’d grown up watching him, so to see him in front of me I was thinking ‘Jeez, is this for real?’
“A few months later we were playing against a great Napoli side in the Europa League. We were losing 1-0 and he came on and scored a hat-trick in 45 minutes. It was unbelievable.
“He’s the same off the pitch, a great man.”