STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Captain Steven Gerrard is set to become the sixth player to reach the milestone of 100 caps for England in Wednesday’s friendly against Sweden and feels he still has a lot more fuel left in his international tank.
The 32-year-old midfielder has had to cope with a few more injuries in recent times but is confident he can keep making a telling contribution for his country.
“My journey has been full of ups and downs and I feel there are a few chapters to write. I don’t feel my England career is coming to an end,” Gerrard told reporters on Tuesday.
“I‘m slightly nervous, very excited and can’t wait for the game to start. I try to be the driving force, get assists and goals and lead by example.”
There were doubts over Gerrard’s fitness when he received a knock in Sunday’s Premier League game at Chelsea but a scan gave the Liverpool skipper the all-clear.
Goalkeeper Peter Shilton (125), David Beckham (115), Bobby Moore (108), Bobby Charlton (106) and Billy Wright (105) have also reached a century of England appearances, with Beckham the most-capped outfield player.
“David’s a hero of mine and it is not important if I beat his record, it is just about qualifying for the next major tournament,” Gerrard said of his former team mate who has not played for his country since 2009.
Roy Hodgson explained that Gerrard’s captaincy had been a highlight since he took over as manager in May.
“I’ve been exceptionally pleased with his leadership qualities, giving younger lads a wise, calming, comforting word,” said Hodgson who also briefly worked with Gerrard at Liverpool in 2010-11.
Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes the midfielder is no ordinary performer.
“He feels more like an international player rather than a normal English player,” said Ibrahimovic.
”English players have big hearts, they are always fighting and are very aggressive but for me Gerrard feels more international. He has more skills than the normal player.
“He must be a very good person to have as a team mate. He always gives 200 percent,” added Ibrahimovic.
Writing by Tom Pilcher, additional reporting by Phil O'Connor, editing by Tony Jimenez