Gerrard: Ive learned the lessons

steven_gerrardSteven Gerrard is one of Englands 'golden generation' of footballers, a group, including Frank Lampard, John Terry and David Beckham, seen as the countrys best chance of winning a major international tournament for the first time since 1966. (Pictured: Steven Gerrard in action on the pit

Here, he talks about learning from what happened in Germany in 2006, the pressure of taking part in a penalty shoot-out and the competition England will face in the group stage in South Africa.

Steven, you missed a penalty as England lost a shoot-out to Portugal at Germany 2006. What did you learn from that experience?

I think, having missed the penalty, Ill probably be a bit more composed next time and take my time a bit more.

What goes through your mind when you step up to take a spot-kick?

It is massive pressure, but thats what weve got to do, weve got to try and handle that pressure. I didnt handle it in 2006, so if Im put in that situation again I will try and deal with the pressure a lot better.

How do you think Fabio Capello will cope at his first FIFA World Cup?

Hell bring many qualities to the team. Hes a winner; hes got an unbelievable amount of experience and has enjoyed a remarkable amount of success. Hes transmitting a winning mentality to the team, so fingers crossed that will stand us in good stead for the tournament.

What are your responsibilities within the team? What does England manager Fabio Capello want from you?

The manager wants me to play with freedom, to express myself. Its starting from the left, but he doesnt want me to stay in the one position. He wants me to move around and cause the opposition problems by getting into areas where they dont want me to be.

Some people are saying Englands group in South Africa will be easier than some of the others. What do you think?

We are pleased with the draw and were very confident that we can qualify from the group, but at the same time we have to show the teams respect. Every team has done fantastically well to get to the World Cup and all three teams against us in the group [Algeria, Slovenia and the USA] are desperate to beat England. We know theyre going to play the game of their lives, so we need to make sure we perform well to win.

Looking back to past FIFA World Cups, which players did you look up to when you were a child and which players do you admire the most?

My favourite player of all time is Zinedine Zidane, the [former] French captain. Just to see him play the way he moves, the way he controls the ball, the way he passes is an absolute privilege and theres so much you can learn from that guy, hes a genius with the ball.

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