Steven Gerrard blasts Manchester City’s Patrick Vieira for attacking youngsters’ ‘lack of love’ for England

By Dean Wilkins

Steven Gerrard has blasted Manchester City’s Patrick Vieira for claiming that British youngsters do not fantasise about playing for their country.

The Blues’ football development executive attacked young footballers for not ‘dreaming of playing for the national team’ but Gerrard has dismissed his allegations as nonsense.

The Frenchman reacted to Chelsea’s Ryan Bertrand who took to Twitter for an angry outburst and claimed that England’s future footballers are not under control by the FA.

“In England, I really don’t understand how so many young players from the age of 16 to 21 pull out of the national team through injury,” the Arsenal legend said.

“It’s maybe the lack of FA power and maybe it is a lack of love for the national team as well.

“But when I grew up in France, I wanted to play for the French national team. That was my target and my dream – and I don’t think this is the same for the Under-16s and Under-18s in England.

“I don’t think the young players are dreaming of playing for the national team any more. I believe they are not as proud as they used to be.”

But ahead of England’s fourth World Cup 2014 qualifier in Poland tonight, the Liverpool and Three Lions captain attacked Vieira for sticking his nose in.

“I don’t really care what Patrick Vieira says,” the 32-year-old said. “It surprised me to read that as the impression I get from young players at Liverpool is that they’re desperate to get into this set-up.

“You can see in their faces that, when they’re left out, it has disappointed them. The young players are hungry.”

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