England captain Steven Gerrard has said there can be no excuses for England as they prepare to face Italy in their World Cup opener, saying its time for his country to ‘walk the walk’ after qualifying eight months ago, the Daily
Since the draw of the group stages pitted England against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica, Gerrard has been buoyed by what he has seen – Italy without a win in their last seven against international sides, and Uruguay facing an anxious wait to see whether the deadly Luis Suarez can play more than a bit part after undergoing knee surgery.
And the mood in the English camp is one of optimism, with a younger, fresher looking squad being put through their paces with a sense that they can make a big impression on the world stage this summer.
Gerrard said: “It is here now. All the distances and the miles we have covered, the heat preparation, we’ve done all that. There are no excuses now. It is time to walk the walk. In every tournament, the FA leave the players with no excuses and maybe it’s 99.9 per cent right. This time they’ve put everything in place and done everything possible for the players to perform.
“When the whistle goes against Italy, you are on your own. You are with your team, your squad, and you have to have belief in what we are going into the tournament with.
Gerrard will make his 112 appearance should he play against the Italians – who knocked England out of Euro 21012 on penalties at the quarter final stage, and can set a new record of out field caps for his country should they progress past the group stages – David Beckham currently holds the record of 115.