Gerrard to remain as England captain

 

Soccer: Steven Gerrard is to continue as England captain following the national team's exit from Euro 2012. The Liverpool midfielder was appointed skipper by Roy Hodgson when he took over as manager in May.

Gerrard, 32, told a press conference in Krakow he had relished the opportunity to captain his country and would continue to do it for as long as he was required.

"I've had a brief chat with the manager," he said, "and he's told me he wants me to continue and I'm there, I'm available as long as I'm wanted at this level. I've loved the responsibility and I've enjoyed every minute of it.

"I've tried my best, I've given it everything I've got. I've given it my best shot."

Gerrard admitted England had not played the best football at Euro 2012 and needed to work harder at retaining the ball following the quarter-final penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy.

The Azzurri dominated possession and hit the post twice, and although England were able to keep them at bay for 120 minutes, the failure of Ashley Young and Ashley Cole to convert their shoot-out kicks led to an another last-eight exit for England.

Gerrard said: "At times the football hasn't been fantastic, we haven't blown people away. The possession stats speak for themselves. Moving forward as a nation we do need to improve with the ball."

Despite the less-than-impressive performance, Gerrard was happy he and his colleagues had not come up short for effort.

"Everyone has given everything they've got and that's all you can ask for," he added. "I think the supporters will agree with me that we have played for the shirt."

But Gerrard stressed: "I think we've performed to a better level at this competition than in previous tournaments."

He added: "I think performance-wise I'm reasonably satisfied. I'm just in a zone of frustration and disappointment because we've come so close to ending that quarter-final hoodoo."

England manager Roy Hodgson said they had done everything they could to be ready for penalties but that the tension of a big match cannot be replicated.

"Nothing that you can do will ever prepare you for the moment," he said."We've practised, we talked about it, we knew where their penalty takers would put their shots."

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