Steven Gerrard says England can produce World Cup "miracle"

By Phil McNultyChief football writer, BBC Sport

Captain Steven Gerrard believes England's World Cup campaign can end with victory in Brazil in 2014, insisting: "Miracles do happen."

Gerrard leads England into their first qualifier against Moldova in Chisinau on Friday admitting it will be his last attempt to make an impact on the tournament.

He said: "When I speak, I'm realistic and honest. At the moment we're not one of the favourites to win the World Cup but that doesn't mean you stop believing, working hard to improve and try to learn from mistakes you have made in previous tournaments.

"We have to have that faith and keep believing. You never stop believing in football. Miracles do happen."

The 32-year-old Liverpool midfielder added: "I think we can safely say it's definitely my last World Cup. I'm at that age where I need to make all the time count and give it my best. It's probably my last campaign so let's try to make the most of it."

Meanwhile, England manager Roy Hodgson says his preparations for the game have been disrupted by injuries to key players.

Wayne Rooney, Andy Carroll, Adam Johnson and Ashley Cole have been ruled out through injury.

However, Hodgson has been boosted by the return of midfielder Michael Carrick to the squad.

"It is a great blow to lose players you have selected but we chose a large squad to cope with that," he said.

"We certainly have more players than we need for the starting XI."

Carrick, 31, is back after an 18-month absence after asking not to be considered for international duty.

Gerrard is delighted Carrick has returned after his absence under previous manager Fabio Capello.

"He is a quality player who plays well week in, week out for Manchester United," Gerrard said.

"I am delighted to have him back in the squad because he makes us a better team."

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