Steven Gerrard Issues England Rallying Cry Ahead Of Vital World Cup Qualifier in Ukraine

Midfielder insists Three Lions must keep all 11 men on the pitch at the Olympic stadium. 

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England captain Steven Gerrard has warned his team-mates to keep their cool and not to lose focus when they take on Ukraine in a must-not-lose FIFA World Cup qualifier in Kiev on Tuesday night, according to reports in the Daily Mirror.

The Three Lions travel to the Ukrainian capital as the current leaders of Group H, but only on goal difference from surprise package Montenegro, while their hosts on Tuesday are themselves just a point behind in third place in the table.

And the inspirational Liverpool midfield player does not want a repeat of the red card that he himself picked up on the last occasion these two nations met, at Wembley Stadium last October, in the 70,000-capacity Olympic stadium on Tuesday evening.

“You need 11 men on the pitch in games like this that is for sure,” Gerrard said in his pre-match press conference on the eve of the vital fixture.

“I was disappointed to get the second yellow that night but thankfully it was at the very end of the game so it didn’t really have an effect on it. But yes, discipline will be very important tomorrow.

“When you have played for Liverpool and England for such a long time, you come up against big games every couple of weeks if you like. This one is right up there. If we were to get the right result tomorrow it would put us in the driving seat in the group. It is a big game.

“You never get worried or fear them. These are the games you come out the other side with a win or a good performance you get an awful lot of credit. All the hard work and what you put yourself through is worth it.

“We expected a good (Ukraine) side at Wembley. I don’t think, as a group, we performed to our maximum. We under-performed a little bit at Wembley. We will need to perform better tomorrow night if we want the right result.”

And the Reds’ skipper has called on his team-mates to deliver the type of display that saw Hodgson’s side record an impressive 1-0 win in Ukraine the last time that England travelled to the country, for a European Championship group-stage fixture in June 2012, with Manchester United front man Wayne Rooney heading home the only goal of the game that night.

“We are looking for more like the performance we put up against them in the Championships, which was solid defensively and we nicked it on the break with a Wayne Rooney goal,” he said. “A performance like that will get us a win tomorrow.”

The 33-year-old added that a game like this is the perfect opportunity for England’s young players to really announce themselves on the international stage, comparing it with his breakthrough performance as a youngster when the Three Lions earned a famous 5-1 away win over Germany.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for the new players. These are the games that get a lot of attention. If you perform well individually you get an awful lot of credit and can certainly propel you as a player. I am sure the manager won’t forget it when he is picking teams moving forward.

“Germany away for me was maybe similar to the position they are in now. I was a young age with little experience, away from home in a very important qualifier. I managed to get a goal and play well that night. It certainly propelled me on at international level.”

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