Carra – England need Reds’ determination

Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher says that England have to show their willingness to give everything they’ve got to the cause – similar to the way Liverpool played at Cardiff on Saturday. And for that matter the way they played a year ago in Istanbul. Both times Liverpool came out on top on penalties after having to fight their way back to level terms at full time. Both matches ended 3-3 too. If anything the fight has to be even stronger in the World Cup, says Carra: “The FA Cup is every year and the World Cup is every four years – but who knows when you’re going to be in an FA Cup final again.”

Carra is, along with Peter Crouch and Steve Gerrard, in Portugal for an England training camp as the longest season they’ve ever been involved in continues. Carra may not even be selected to start any games for England, but they’ll be missing a player that kicks the backsides of his team-mates when he’s wearing a red shirt and makes sure they are giving it their all. He says his attitude would be the same in an England shirt: “In a World Cup game, if there’s 20 minutes to go and the score’s not going right, you know it could be another four years  and some players may never get the chance again. So it does become a life and death thing, where you’ve just got to give it everything.”

The long season for Liverpool must have played a part in so many Red
shirts falling to the ground in extra time. It’s a cliché, but it
really did look like a battlefield at times. Scouser Tommy would have
been proud. Carra said: “Credit to us at the weekend, with how many
players went down with cramp and we kept going, and that’s probably
what you need in a World Cup. There are times when it’s going to be
tough and you are going to be up against it, but if England are going
to win this World Cup it’s not going to be easy.”

Another cliché, no pain no gain: “I do think you need that, going through that pain barrier in order to get the rewards.”

West Ham were literally on the verge of winning the FA Cup when
Gerrard’s wonder-goal on 90 minutes brought the scores level. To Carra
that shows that no game can ever be a foregone conclusion: “Obviously,
respect to West Ham, but we were probably expected to beat them, but in
the World Cup there will be teams we’ll come up against where England
may be slight underdogs. And if you’re down you have just got to go for
Gerrard has just come to the end of a season where he’s probably played
his best football for his club. For most of that season he’s been used
on the right side of midfield rather than his preferred central
midfield position. The lack of flexibility over position from other
England players means Stevie always has to adapt his own game when he
plays for his country. Frank Lampard gets the glory-hunter position of
the more advanced role of the two central midfielders meaning the
creative side of Gerrard’s game is lost as he takes on the more
defensive role. Gerrard has even played on the left side of midfield
for England. For Liverpool, when injuries or circumstances have
required it he’s played right back, behind the main striker or even as
a main striker. So how does England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson plan to
use him this summer?

Eriksson told reporters that Stevie may end up in the badly-named
position of ‘in the hole’: “I’ve known for many years Steven Gerrard
can play a lot of positions and one is second striker. I’m sure he
could also play as a first striker, and he’s also excellent at
right-back. It depends a lot on what’s going to happen with Michael
Owen and Wayne Rooney. We haven’t decided yet where we’re going to use

England’s first-choice strikers, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen, are
both injury doubts for the finals, and it’s their fitness that holds
the key to where Eriksson will use Gerrard. It also holds the key to
how big a part Peter Crouch gets to play for his country.