Pressure on England is unfair, claims Gerrard

The Three Lions skipper calls for calm after securing qualification to Brazil but hopes that, if Roy Hodgson’s side improve, they will be able to “surprise a few people”

England captain Steven Gerrard has urged fans to be realistic about the national side’s chances of winning World Cup 2014.

The Liverpool talisman scored the second goal in his country’s 2-0 victory over Poland at Wembley on Tuesday night, securing the Three Lions’ place at next summer’s finals in Brazil.

As part of England’s so-called ‘golden generation’, the 33-year-old has found hysteria a negative influence on the team in the past but is hopeful that this time fans and squad will be more understanding of their limitations.

“The important thing now is that people don’t get carried away and start putting us as favourites, thinking everything is fine and we’re a fantastic team,” Gerrard told the press.

“My experience going into World Cups is people talking about golden generations and of us being one of the favourites, this is going to be our year, and stuff like that but that only creates a false pressure, an unfair pressure.

“It’s a very tough tournament and I think, this time, people will be more realistic. We certainly will be. We know we’re a good team but we need to improve.”

While the midfielder has lauded the youngsters coming into the national side, he emphasises the importance of experience and believes that Roy Hodgson has provided the perfect combination of players for the team to succeed.

“Andros Townsend has been magnificent over two games [in October],” he enthused. “[Jack] Wilshere, [Raheem] Sterling, [Ross] Barkley are all breaking through but the important thing is to keep the experienced players to guide them in the right way. That’s what Roy has created, a good atmosphere in the group and a good blend.””

A successful World Cup campaign is still missing from the Liverpool midfielder’s illustrious career, a gap that he is keen to fill.

“I watched [Paul] Gascoigne and saw the lads get to the semi-finals and to within inches of the final in 1990,” he recalled. “Unfortunately, as a player I’ve not had similar memories to what the lads had at Italy in 1990.

“The World Cup is the ultimate tournament. It’s so difficult to do well in because there are so many good teams and so many good players there. It is tough but I’m hoping this time we’ll surprise a few people.”

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