With 114 caps and a host of major tournament appearances — and disappointments — L.A. Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard is able to speak on the pressures of playing for England.
That topic is top of mind overseas thanks to England’s surprising exit at the hands of Iceland in the EURO 2016 Round of 16.
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In a sprawling piece for the Daily Telegraph, Gerrard touches on a number of topics. The most notable to us is the player selection from Roy Hodgson — his former manager for club and country — and the pressures heaped on England players.
Players who were not 100 per cent fit were selected when they should not have been and players full of confidence and form were either overlooked or barely used.
It has become a massive burden. When calm heads were needed out there, everyone was looking at each other hoping someone was going to pull something out the bag for us. Very few were capable of taking on the responsibility.
It’s interesting reading, not only on account of his experience and perspective but also because it shows the incredibly microscopic treatment of the team in England genuinely does affect the players (as much as athletes would like us to think otherwise).