England's Steven Gerrard backs FA chairman Greg Dyke's plan

Gerrard denies Redknapp text message

England skipper Steven Gerrard has said he backs plans by Football Association chairman Greg Dyke to boost the number of English players in the top flight.

Dyke has set up a commission to improve England's chances at major tournaments.

The FA chief has suggested increasing the number of English players in the Premier League from 36% to 50%.

"Credit to him, he's trying to put a structure in place to improve the statistics of English players coming through," Gerrard said.

"But we have to give it time. It's not going to happen overnight.

"I think I read something about he's trying to halve the number of foreigners allowed in the country and I think that's a good start."

Dyke's FA commission will include former England boss Glen Hoddle, former FA technical director Howard Wilkinson and ex-England defender Danny Mills among others.

Its focus is to increase the number of England-qualified players appearing for the country's top clubs and improve the England national team.

Ged Roddy, the Premier League director of youth, says the League's Elite Player Performance Plan is already delivering improvements.

He told BBC Sport: "They might be small to begin with but it's those small, marginal gains that will begin to tip the game in the direction we want it to move in, which is more and better home-grown players in our first-team squads.

"An English boy has the same potential as a Spanish boy, German or a Brazilian boy. The physiology is the same but maybe the mindset is something we have to work on. I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be able to produce English talent."

Gerrard, 33, is set to make his 106th appearance for the national side in Friday's World Cup qualifier against Montenegro, joining Sir Bobby Charlton as England's fourth most-capped player.

Victory over Montenegro at Wembley, coupled with a similar result against Poland on Tuesday, would guarantee England's qualification for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

However, anything less than maximum points would leave the Group H leaders needing other results to go their way.

"I'm very proud," said Gerrard. "Bobby Charlton is one of the best players to play for England, so to equal his record, I'm very flattered and honoured."

The Liverpool midfielder added: "These games are up there with the most important I have played in. We are at a critical stage of the qualifying campaign and it's up to us to deliver."

England boss Roy Hodgson is adamant there will be no slip-ups from his side in their final two qualifying games.

"We've not discussed not qualifying," he said. "We are convinced we are a good team and convinced we are good enough to qualify.

"I can't say it's unthinkable that we won't qualify, lots of good teams that won't be in Brazil, but I'm convinced we are going."

Gerrard also denied he had contacted Harry Redknapp to back him for the England manager's job before Hodgson's appointment in 2012.

QPR boss Redknapp wrote in his autobiography, serialised in the Daily Mail,external-link that a number of senior players, including England captain Gerrard, sent text messages of support.

But Gerrard said: "I didn't text Harry Redknapp's personal phone. I have never had his number."

He did admit he spoke with former Liverpool team-mate Jamie Redknapp, Harry's son, about his father getting the England job following Fabio Capello's departure, but insisted he was behind Hodgson's appointment.

"I had a conversation with his son Jamie, who I am close to, and said 'send my best to your dad and if he gets the job, we will all support him'," added Gerrard.

"I have tried to back Roy Hodgson and give him my best. I'm delighted he got the job and I've played my most consistent football under Roy, so I have a lot to thank him for."

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