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Gerrard: Life was tough under Capello

ESPN staff
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Steven Gerrard has criticised former England manager Fabio Capello for stripping the squad of confidence ahead of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Hodgson's side play their final warm-up game for the 2014 edition of football's biggest showpiece before heading to Brazil, and Gerrard says the atmosphere in the camp is much different than it was four years ago.

"It feels different and the lads are smiling and enjoying training," said Gerrard, who won 37 of his 110 caps under Capello. "Without a doubt it's much healthier.

"Maybe four years ago we weren't in this mood. We weren't as confident as we are but we know we'll be judged on results. We have to go and perform.

Defensive role can see Gerrard extend career

Steven Gerrard's new role didn't prevent him from getting on the scoresheet last season © PA Photos
  • Steven Gerrard will not make a decision on his England future until after the World Cup, but says his new role as a defensive midfielder could prolong his career.
  • "When I first moved into the position I felt it was too early because I've still got energy in my game," he told the Daily Mail. "I feel I can still can get box-to-box.
  • "Brendan [Rodgers] mentioned the role to me in the first conversation we had. It wasn't something that was sprung on me with two or three days' notice.
  • "My form has been good since playing there and it's probably been one of my most consistent seasons. It'll certainly stop me getting some of the niggles I used to get because the attacking role involves maybe 1,000 to 1,500 metres of high-speed runs. This role is maybe half that."

"This group of players is great to be around, it is much more enjoyable. We want players like Luke Shaw, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley to be able to come into an atmosphere where they're comfortable, so they can perform like they have done for their clubs.

Gerrard also hailed Roy Hodgson for believing in him as captain - a position in which he was not trusted by predecessor Capello.

Gerrard led Capello's side 2010 after first choice John Terry was stripped of the captaincy following controversies in his private life and second-choice Rio Ferdinand was ruled out of the tournament with injury.

"I think [Capello] believed in me and rated me as a player," Gerrard said, "and our relationship was fine.

"But at the time we picked the captain, he had Rio and John and thought they offered something different.

"I guess it was difficult when he had to select a captain. There were three in the running for it - maybe four if you include Frank Lampard, although I think Frank was at a disadvantage because John was his club captain at Chelsea.

"At the time I was gutted he didn't choose me but I wasn't sitting in my room in tears because I knew I was going to play. I knew Capello liked me in that respect.

"Maybe he wanted a more vocal, in-your-face type of captain. That's not really me. I'll never be that type of captain because I don't believe that is the right way to go about it."

Gerrard was then reminded of his rousing speech that followed Liverpool's win over Manchester City in April.

He continued: "But that's a different type of vocal. That's a rallying cry. I was trying to lift the lads and make them aware that the job wasn't done. As it proved further down the line.

"What I mean is I'm not the type of captain who will make a player uncomfortable in front of other people. I'm not one who'll attack players on the pitch.

"I've got a lot of respect for John [Terry] and he gave me the respect I needed to get on with the job. All I could do was try to play well and be there for the lads whenever they needed anything.

"I just didn't feel like the proper captain. I was a stand-in, because I knew Rio would return at some point and things might change and John might get another chance. "I still loved having that responsibility. I always have. But it wasn't until Roy Hodgson gave me the job permanently that I felt like the proper England captain.

"Roy has the confidence in me to be the captain and I'll enjoy it more as captain rather than vice-captain this time round."

Steven Gerrard says Fabio Capello trusted him as a player but did not like his captaincy style © PA Photos
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