Updated: Monday, 19th November 2018 @ 5:20pm

Keep calm and make sure Rooney’s fit: England captain Steven Gerrard warns nation against usual over-optimism

Keep calm and make sure Rooney’s fit: England captain Steven Gerrard warns nation against usual over-optimism

By Paddy Dinham

With a fit Wayne Rooney and several doses of calm following England’s qualification for next summer’s World Cup last night, captain Steven Gerrard believes the Three Lions have a chance in Brazil.

The skipper scored late on to secure the 2-0 win over Poland at Wembley and a place for England in the December 6 draw ahead of the 2014 finals – almost certainly the 33-year-old’s final major tournament for his country.

Gerrard is confident England can turn a few heads in South America.

"The opportunity is there… hopefully we can go in with a little less pressure on ourselves and surprise a few,” he told Sky Sports.

"It is important now that it does not flip and everyone thinks we are going to go and win the World Cup, that we are favourites and everyone gets carried away.

“I have said all week there is a good confidence and belief in the group, but at the same time we are going to keep ourselves grounded and stay humble.”

The Liverpool great also expressed the importance of Manchester United talisman Rooney for next summer.

Rooney has never scored a goal at a World Cup finals having entered the 2006 tournament in Germany recovering from a broken metatarsal, while four years later the 27-year-old injured his left ankle weeks before the trip to South Africa.

“If we are going to do well at the tournament it will be because Wayne Rooney is in good form,” said Gerrard.

“That is why Wayne Rooney is so important for this country…when you go into big competitions, you need strikers to get you important goals.”

Image courtesy of MUFC video via YouTube, with thanks.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.