World Cup qualifier: Steven Gerrard hopes England's youngsters will shine
Steven Gerrard has urged England's young players to launch their international careers against Ukraine on Tuesday night.
Last Updated: 10/09/13 7:28pm
Gerrard faced a similar challenge when he was part of the England side that travelled to Germany 12 years ago and the midfielder marked his sixth cap with a goal in the famous 5-1 win in Munich.
Jack Wilshere and Kyle Walker have only picked up a handful of caps ahead of the match in Kiev and the England skipper has challenged them to prove themselves at the highest level.
"For me, Germany away was maybe similar to the position those lads are in now," said Gerrard.
"I was a young age with little experience, and we were playing away from home in a very important qualifier.
"I managed to get a goal and play well that night. It certainly propelled me on at international level.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for the new players. These are the games that get a lot of attention and if you perform well individually you get an awful lot of credit."
Gerrard is used to playing on hostile territory and is not fazed by the prospect of facing a vociferous 70,000 crowd at the Olympic Stadium.
But the Liverpool player admits England must try to dampen the atmosphere with a dominant start to the match.
"If you let the crowd make a difference they will," he said.
"If you start sloppily and don't focus, don't concentrate, make mistakes and play into their hands, of course the crowd is going to get up and make a lot of noise. Then it becomes even more difficult.
"But if you can be solid, make very few mistakes and try to silence them it has the reverse effect.
"Then they will start getting on Ukraine's backs and there will be even more pressure on them."
England appeared to be heading for an away win against Montenegro in March, but the hosts rescued a 1-1 draw after a lacklustre second-half display from Roy Hodgson's men.
Gerrard admits the team must not let Ukraine back into the match if they take the lead this evening.
"I wouldn't say it fell apart but the result slipped away from us," said Gerrard.
"At the end of this group, if we were to finish top, we would look back at the Montenegro result as a big point.
"It was a very difficult away game in a hostile atmosphere and the lads did really well. But it was disappointing we didn't build on the first-half performance.
"If we start well again it will be important we maintain it for the full 90."