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 Monday, 18 November, 2002, 16:31 GMT
Eriksson sidesteps Gerrard issue
Steven Gerrad celebrates scoring for England against Macedonia
Gerrard has struggled since scoring against Macedonia
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson says he has noted Steven Gerrard's recent lapse in form.

But he has no plans to talk to the Liverpool midfielder about the issue, insisting it is a matter for the player and his club.

Eriksson has gathered his squad together for two days at a health resort in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire for a debriefing following last month's poor performance in the Euro 2004 qualifier against Macedonia.

Gerrard is among them, having been left out of Liverpool's Premiership match with Sunderland on Sunday.

With Gerrard you expect great, great things because you know what he can do

Sven-Goran Eriksson

That followed his substitution against Basle in the Champions League last week, after which Reds boss Gerard Houllier admitted Gerrard was in "terrible" form.

"He is an extremely good player and obviously he is not playing as they want him to play," said Eriksson.

"It happens now and then and as a manager you try to 'wake up' one of your players.

"I have no idea the reasons behind it. I haven't talked to Gerard Houllier or Steven about it.

"The last time I had him with us was a long time ago. The problem is between them and they have to resolve it without my involvement."

Eriksson said he had detected no change in Gerrard's character, despite speculation that his lifestyle may have contributed to his loss of form.

Alan Smith in action for Leeds against Bolton
Smith has been in good scoring form for Leeds

"I think he can play better, but with Gerrard you expect great, great things because you know what he can do."

Eriksson also insisted he had no plans to speak to Leeds striker Alan Smith about his disciplinary problems, following his sending-off in the 2-2 draw against Macedonia.

"I am not especially worried about it. He was sent off but it was a tough decision by the referee.

"I don't think he behaved badly and I don't think he should have been sent off.

"But it was good to see him score four goals," Eriksson added, referring to Smith's feat in a Uefa Cup tie against Hapoel Tel-Aviv last week.

Eriksson stressed the importance of this week's get-together, given the length of time between the Macedonia game and next February's friendly against Australia.

"It is good to see each other," he added. "It is important. We will talk about Macedonia tonight and the future.

"Then tomorrow we have a practice session with 11 against 11, where maybe we will try something new."

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 ON THIS STORY
 Sven-Goran Eriksson
"I have no idea why he has lost his form"
See also:

14 Nov 02 | Liverpool
14 Nov 02 | Uefa Cup
13 Nov 02 | Champions League
16 Oct 02 | England
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


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