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Gerrard's defensive warning

ESPN staff
June 16, 2012 « Keane not thinking about retirement | Chartbeat test »
Steven Gerrard: We did it the hard way

Steven Gerrard has told England to sharpen up their defending at set-pieces or risk crashing out of Euro 2012.

Roy Hodgson's side fell 2-1 behind against Sweden after conceding from two free-kicks but came back to win 3-2 thanks to an inspired performance from substitute Theo Walcott, who hit a thunderous equaliser before creating Danny Welbeck's flicked winner.

England skipper Gerrard, whose pinpoint cross set up Andy Carroll for the game's opening goal, said: "There were mistakes in the game - I thought we were very sloppy at set pieces.

"People who know the game will tell you that you go out of competitions and lose big games if you concede goals at set pieces. That was the only disappointment of tonight - I think [in] general play we were better than Sweden. We played the better football and created a lot more than them.

"When you take the lead in international football, it's important that you stay solid and don't make mistakes. We made it really difficult tonight, but I'm pleased with the win."

Gerrard said the performance had shown that England "can be ambitious and can be bold at the right times" after Hodgson employed ultra-cautious tactics in the opening 1-1 draw against France.

He praised his Liverpool colleague Carroll - who has faced criticism after a difficult season at club level - saying: "If you give him the right service he'll get you goals: he's proved that in his career. It was a fantastic header."

And he said Wayne Rooney, suspended for the first two Group D games, was "ready to go" as England prepare for the crucial final meeting with co-hosts Ukraine.

"We've got Wayne to come back in, he's fresh and hopefully now he can provide that little bit extra that we need," he added.

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