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Page last updated at 20:55 GMT, Saturday, 22 May 2010 21:55 UK

Steven Gerrard urges England to deliver in South Africa


Gerrard keeping focus on England

Steven Gerrard has admitted time is running out for England's senior stars to make their mark on the world stage.

Gerrard, 30 at the end of May, is one of several England players in the latter stages of their careers heading to the World Cup in South Africa.

"The feeling this is our last World Cup has got to be the attitude going into it," said the Liverpool midfielder.

"It could be my last chance to win a World Cup, or even shine at one, so you want to give it everything you've got."

Skipper Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard have already passed their 30th birthdays, with John Terry and Ashley Cole not far behind.

Speaking at England's training camp in Austria, Gerrard added: "Thirty is an age where you do consider what you have achieved internationally.

We still have to improve a bit if we are to be successful at the World Cup

Steven Gerrard

"You don't want to step out of this level of football without doing something.

"There is an excitement in this squad and a determination. After the setback of not qualifying for Euro 2008 we feel as though we owe it to the nation to deliver this time around.

"There is a good mix of young talented players and experienced old heads, who have been there and done it at club level.

"Hopefully that will hold us in good stead for what is to come."

Gerrard also admitted that England have underachieved, particularly at the 2006 World Cup, but stated: "Our players are more mature now. We are at that age where players are peaking.

"Everyone around the world knows England have the tools in their armoury to do well. The challenge is to prove it.

"It is easy to say we are one of the favourites. The difficult thing is getting out of the group, then the last 16 and the last eight.

"There is a mental situation with this team in the last couple of tournaments where we have failed to get past the last eight.

"If we get past the last eight then the show is going to start."

The HotHead

Gerrard has vowed that his focus will be only on England during the World Cup and not on his Liverpool future after the club's disappointing season.

He goes into the finals in South Africa amid speculation about his Anfield career, just as he did four years ago at Germany 2006.

"Yes, I was distracted then. I was going back to my hotel room and driving myself mad," he admitted.

"This time round I won't make the same mistake. I guarantee everyone my focus is on doing well for England.

"I am here with England, training has started, and I think it is important to park club issues and focus on the job in hand for England.

"If people want to speculate about my future, that's up to them. I cannot control that, I can only control what I am thinking myself.

"What is important to me now is the World Cup and focusing only on the World Cup.

And Gerrard indicated that England's preparations in Austria are going according to plan.

"I am fine and training with no problems. I' m not really noticing much difference with the altitude," he continued.

"Training has been very intense, very sharp. The boys are excited and spirits are high and we need to keep that going."

As for their chances of winning the World Cup, Gerrard believes England coach Fabio Capello is creating the right environment for success.

"Fabio has been here for a couple of years so we have had time to get used to his ideas and know what he wants," added Gerrard.

"There is still a bit more time to prepare and make sure we are all ready for the tournament.

"The manager has a winning mentality and slowly he has instilled that into the players. During qualifying we played well, but we still have to improve a bit if we are to be successful at the World Cup."

England return from Austria for a friendly against Mexico at Wembley on Monday.

They will then head back to their training base at Irdning two days later before playing their final pre-World Cup friendly against Japan in nearby Graz on 30 May.

England open their World Cup campaign on 12 June against USA.

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see also
England 3-1 Mexico
24 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Lure of Capello tempted Carragher
19 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup suits modelled by team
20 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Capello names surprise Cup squad
11 May 10 |  World Cup 2010

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