Steven Gerrard keen as ever to play for England

By Phil McNultyChief football writer, BBC Sport in Rimini
Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard

England captain Steven Gerrard insists he remains as hungry as ever to represent his country.

The Liverpool skipper is set to win his 102nd cap in Friday's World Cup qualifier in San Marino.

As controversy surrounds Rio Ferdinand's withdrawal from the squad, 32-year-old midfielder remains an England mainstay.

"I'm not tired. I'm fine. My body's good and I'm good. I've my own personal programme I stick to," Gerrard said.

"But that's the same as any other player, two days of rest after a game.

"Playing for England is the pinnacle of everybody's career. If I wasn't playing on Friday I would be very disappointed, so that tells you what it means to me."

Ferdinand's decision to pull out of the squad, because he felt his specific fitness programme made it impossible for him to play two games against San Marino and Montenegro in the space of five days has put his participation in the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, should England qualify, in doubt.

Gerrard has made taking England to Rio a main target and he said: "First of all I don't know whether Rio has turned his back on it.

"I don't know all the details, but for me what I want to do it help take this team to the World Cup in Brazil, especially at my age.

"There is no better stage than to go to Brazil and represent your country. After beating Brazil at Wembley recently we showed that with a full strength squad we can beat the best."

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