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Reality check

Gerrard: England expectations are down, more realistic

The Liverpool skipper says that the Three Lions should have won a tournament in recent years, but now they are underdogs.

ENGLAND CAPTAIN STEVEN Gerrard insists that the Three Lions squad will leave their egos behind for this year’s Euro 2012.

The 31-year-old blamed unrealistic pre-tournament expectations for past failures, but believes that this year the pressure has been lifted somewhat.

And Gerrard, who has been capped 90 times by his country, insists previous heartbreaks will stand the country in good stead for the summer.

“Usually the experience I’ve had going into tournaments is always the golden generation are going to win it, we’re going to do this,” he told the Daily Mirror.

“We put two or three results together and the nation gets carried away and also the players start believing that we’re great. Maybe we go into tournaments believing we’re better than we are.

“I don’t want to be too hard and we have been close, but I feel for the tools that we have got and the players we have had, I do feel we should have done better.

“I think this time there’s a lot of realism about. Expectations are maybe down because we’ve not performed and we haven’t delivered in the previous tournaments.

“That doesn’t mean we’re not going to go into this tournament with belief and confidence that we can cause an upset.

“The pressure and the expectation seems to be slightly in our favour this time rather than a hindrance and weight on our shoulders so we’re hoping we can use that to our advantage.”

The Huyton-born midfielder also reflected on his appointment as skipper under new boss Roy Hodgson, admitting it has been a dream for a long time.

“Throughout my career, since I was a young boy, a lot of people have said that maybe one day I would captain England,” he said.

“My dad has been saying for a long time that he would love me to captain England so it’s just nice to make my family feel proud and they’re chuffed to bits.

“I’ve never been totally confident I would get it because under Steve McClaren and (Fabio) Capello, I’ve missed out on it to other people.

“So it feels as if it has been a long time coming and now I’m going to give it my best shot.”

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