World Cup: Steven Gerrard empowered by captaincy under Roy Hodgson
Last Updated: 07/06/14 3:11pm
England captain Steven Gerrard says he is relishing the opportunity to properly lead his country during the World Cup finals.
The 34-year-old will skipper his country at the tournament in Brazil, which gets under way next Thursday, with England's first group game against Italy two days later.
Before then, he will wear the armband in a friendly in the final warm-up game against Honduras on Friday and in the process overtake both Alan Shearer and John Terry to become the fifth longest-serving England captain.
This is the second time I've been captain at a World Cup, but this time it's for real
Gerrard has previously skippered his country at the World Cup – in South Africa four years ago, when then manager Fabio Capello handed him the armband following an injury to first-choice Rio Ferdinand.
The Liverpool midfielder admits this time feels like his proper bow as captain in the tournament.
"This is the second time I've been captain at a World Cup, but this time it's for real," he said.
"Capello didn't believe in me as his number one captain. 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, who has had him as captain throughout his reign.
"Roy has the confidence in me to be the captain this time," added Gerrard. "I'll enjoy it more as captain rather than vice-captain this time round, of course."