Steven Gerrard was forced to move around the pitch for Sven Goran Eriksson on Saturday as the England coach played him in three different positions in one game. Saturday’s defeat of Argentina was one of Gerrard’s better performances for England, as Frank Lampard produced one of his worse. The versatility of Liverpool’s midfielder will be important for England in the 2006 World Cup as Eriksson has to choose how much cover he needs for each position. Gerrard says he’s happy to be shuffled about, as long it helps the team: "That’s good for me, three positions in one game, it’s usually four or five! But I don’t mind. The team is more important than me and wherever the manager wants me to do a job, I’ll do it to the best of my ability."
Gerrard has been getting used as a right-sided midfielder in recent Liverpool matches – one position he didn’t play for England on Saturday – and says it can be hard to adapt: "It is very difficult at domestic level to play out of position, never mind at international level. But I was happy with my performance on Saturday. I thought I was quite steady in all three positions. The team is the most important thing. I am quite prepared to sacrifice my own strong position to do a job for the manager and the team."
Gerrard feels that Eriksson’s team selections will vary depending on the opposition: "I think the manager will change the midfield depending on who we play. If we are playing a dangerous side, he might go for more discipline in midfield and play Ledley King. If we are playing someone he feels we can beat comfortably, he might go more attacking and play Joe Cole. It is nice to have that variation and be able to change it midway through a game."
Gerrard says that England didn’t ever feel victory was out of their reach on Saturday, and now they’ve won the match it helps confidence stay high until Spring and their next international: "We had the belief that we could beat Argentina. It was a fantastic game to play in and we will take a lot of confidence from it. We’ve got a big break now until March and the worst thing that could have happened was to lose." Like tends to happen to Liverpool, the England team are always written off after a defeat as being no-hopers, then put up as virtually unbeatable after one win. A defeat would have seen negative stuff written about them for the whole of the winter says Stevie: "Four months is a long time to carry a defeat on your shoulders. Everyone is buzzing but I urge everyone not to get carried away. There are some magnificent teams in the World Cup. We are one of them but we’ve got to go and prove that. We know on our day we can beat anyone but going into a big tournament it is all about small details and getting that bit of luck."
Meanwhile Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney was heaping praise on his England team-mate Peter Crouch, saying that the Liverpool striker was probably the difference that helped England turn what looked like a defeat into a victory: "Crouchy was brilliant when he came on in the second half. He definitely gave us a different sort of option up front which is good to have. Over the past few weeks Peter has been given quite a bit of stick at times, but he’s played well, kept his head down and worked hard. He was probably the main influence on us going on to win the game. For the crosses into the box, the defenders were more worried about him, which created the space for Michael to score." It’s strange to hear a Manchester United player being so complimentary to a Liverpool player, especially when the United player was once a blue (not always a blue) with Everton, but Rooney seems to realise how important Crouch will be to England in the summer.