Salisbury JournalRoy believes in me - Gerrard (From Salisbury Journal)

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Roy believes in me - Gerrard

Salisbury Journal: Steven Gerrard will become the fifth longest-serving England captain - in terms of matches - when they face Honduras Steven Gerrard will become the fifth longest-serving England captain - in terms of matches - when they face Honduras

Steven Gerrard is looking forward to a World Cup where he finally feels respected as England captain.

Gerrard will move ahead of Alan Shearer and John Terry to become the fifth longest-serving England skipper - in terms of matches - when he leads the Three Lions out against Honduras on Saturday at Sun Life stadium.

And there will be no-one more proud than Gerrard when he takes to the field as captain in Brazil.

This is not the first time Gerrard has worn the armband in a World Cup. He did so in South Africa four years ago, but he was skipper by default.

Gerrard only got the captaincy because Rio Ferdinand injured his knee during England's first training session in Rustenburg.

"This is the second time I've been captain at a World Cup, but this time it's for real," he said.

Other than the four England matches in South Africa, Gerrard only captained his national side on another four occasions under Capello despite being regarded as one of the best leaders in the Premier League with Liverpool.

When John Terry was stripped of the captaincy for the first time in 2010 due to allegations about his private life, Capello turned to Rio Ferdinand instead.

"Capello didn't believe in me as his number one captain," the midfielder said bluntly.

"He did believe in me as a player, he rated me as a player, and our relationship was fine.

"But at the time we picked the captain, he had Rio Ferdinand and John Terry and he thought they offered something different. I was third-choice up to him."

There is a much stronger belief in Gerrard's leadership skills from the current England coach.

Roy Hodgson installed Gerrard as his skipper from day one and that has left the 33-year-old full of belief in his own abilities ahead of Brazil.

"Roy has the confidence in me to be the captain this time," said Gerrard, who was also Liverpool captain under Hodgson.

"I'll enjoy it more as captain rather than vice-captain this time round, of course."

England enjoyed a near faultless qualifying record ahead of the 2010 World Cup under Capello, but they came home from South Africa following a second-round defeat at the hands of Germany.

Ashley Cole and Terry were still in their 20s and Gerrard only hit 30 on the eve of the tournament.

Wayne Rooney had also just had an excellent season with Manchester United.

But despite a lack of experience, Gerrard believes the squad for this summer's tournament is far stronger.

Gerrard has seen at close quarters how good Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson have been at club level this year.

And the Liverpool captain has been enthused by the development of other newcomers like Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Ross Barkley.

"The standard in the squad (is better)," he said.

"There are two players pushing in every position to get into the 11, and there's not much between them in every position.

"The manager could pick five teams for the Italy game and you wouldn't see a big difference in the standard. That's what gives me hope."

This time last year Lallana, Shaw and Barkley were nowhere near the England squad.

Sterling only had one cap to his name and Henderson had endured a torrid season with Liverpool.

Gerrard has been taken aback by how the inexperienced players have taken to international football.

"They've brought their form from their clubs into the England set-up," the 34-year-old said.

"That's what I've noticed. Hopefully they can continue that into the tournament. They're ready to play. That's the biggest compliment I can give them. And that's because of what I've seen in training."

Gerrard thinks the build-up to Brazil could hardly have gone better.

"I think preparations have gone very well," Gerrard said after an hour-long session under the baking hot sun of Miami.

"The heat out here has been perfect for us getting conditioned. But it is going to be different - I don't think there's anything like Manaus.

"We understand that and we've still got a week to go, but we're exactly where we want to be at this moment."

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