Gerrard expects England to go on the attack against Sweden

STEVEN GERRARD

STEVEN GERRARD

First published in International

Steven Gerrard is expecting a more ambitious England to be on show against Sweden in Kiev tonight.

Although Roy Hodgson's men won plenty of praise for a battling performance in their Euro 2012 draw with France on Monday, they were attacked for their failure to keep the ball and a largely defensive approach.

However, as Gerrard pointed out, Sweden cannot be regarded in the same manner.

And whilst he respects any side containing the mercurial talents of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the England captain believes his team-mates will get more opportunities to show the offensive side of their abilities.

''With all due respect to Sweden, they are not France,'' said Gerrard.

''That means the whole team can be slightly more ambitious and we can attack more and maybe take more risks.

''Then you will see a better performance from the team going forward.''

Hodgson positively bristled when it was suggested his squad are technically inferior to some of their rivals in Poland and Ukraine.

Gerrard has a more realistic outlook. He does not feel it is right to compare England with the brilliant Barcelona outfit that provide the bedrock of a Spain side trying to become the first team to win three successive major tournaments.

He does feel the Three Lions have other attributes that need to be taken into account.

''These people who have that opinion (England's players are not technically good enough) are watching Spain and Barcelona,'' he said.

''Of course we are not as technically gifted as those teams or that type of player. They are the best in the world.

''What we haven't got in technique, maybe we gain on them in heart, desire and commitment.''

Chelsea's backs-to-the-wall performances in both the Champions League semi-final and final this season was put to Gerrard as the obvious example of what he meant, to which the skipper quickly added: ''So did we in 2005. Exactly the same.''

The assessment is largely based upon France's dominance in possession in Donetsk on Monday and the glaring statistic Les Bleus completed twice as many passes.

Hodgson does not feel those figures tell a true picture. Gerrard underlined a more circumspect approach that needs to be adopted in such situations.

''You have to understand, you can't approach some of these teams and go out all attacking and gung ho,'' he said.

''If you are not organised, tight defensively and maybe sacrifice something going forward you go home early.''

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