Stewart Downing backs Steven Gerrard for England captaincy

England winger Stewart Downing believes Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard is the perfect candidate to replace recently deposed captain John Terry.

Caretaker boss Stuart Pearce is yet to announce who will lead England against the Netherlands on Wednesday.

Liverpool captain Gerrard is one of the leading contenders to replace Terry, who was stripped of the role by the Football Association this month.

"If he's picked to do it then I'm sure he will do it well," said Downing.

"It's the manager's decision, but he has captained Liverpool for a number of years and he's done it well.

"He's a big player for Liverpool and England and a great influence on the players. He drives teams on.

"If he's given the England captaincy then great."

Gerrard, 31, skippered England during their 2010 World Cup campaign after Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand missed the tournament through injury.

Meanwhile, midfielder James Milner insists England's inexperienced forwards have the quality to hurt the Netherlands at Wembley.

Injuries mean Sunderland's uncapped Fraizer Campbell, Manchester United's Danny Welbeck and Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge could all play.

And Milner has backed the trio's ability ahead of the friendly match.

"They're three young strikers with great ability and you want to see them coming through and staking a claim.

"I've played with Fraizer before in the Under-21s and he's a great player and had such bad luck with injuries.

"But he's come back and a player who can make that much impact in such a short time from such a long lay off shows what a character he is."

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (throat infection) and Aston Villa's Darren Bent (ankle) were originally selected in Pearce's first England squad since Fabio Capello's resignation.

They join Tottenham defender Kyle Walker and Tom Cleverley on a growing list of injury absentees, which has increased the chance of the versatile forwards playing a part against the 2010 World Cup finalists.

Milner highlighted the versatility of Sturridge and Welbeck and praised the way they have played key roles in their clubs' fight for domestic honours.

"They both have great ability and have had great seasons so far for their teams," he said.

"Studge [Daniel Sturridge] has been playing a bit wider and he's a live wire and creates a lot of chances and scores goals as well.

"And Webbs [Danny Welbeck] at times has been playing up there on his own and he holds it up well and brings other players into the game and also creates things out of nothing."