11 September 2012 10:56
Steven Gerrard has urged England to give Ukraine the respect they deserve ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier at Wembley.
The two countries met in the group stages of Euro 2012 in the summer, with England edging to a narrow 1-0 win.
Despite Wayne Rooney’s winner, Gerrard warned Ukraine are far too good a side to disregard as England look to impress again following Friday’s 5-0 win in Moldova.
He told the Daily Mirror: “There were times in the Euros when we gave them too much respect and stood off them and they had a few dangerous opportunities to score. Over the 90 minutes, they could feel hard done by not to have got at least a point.
“The difference for this game is we didn’t know too much about Moldova before that game. We performed really well, but this game will be a bigger and tougher test.
“If you stand off them (Ukraine) and give them too much respect, they have players who can hurt us. We need to be on it against them.
“But we won the game in the Euros, did what we needed to do, and hopefully we can get the same outcome.
“They have got our respect. They are a dangerous team. If you show them too much respect, they can hurt you.
“We were strong defensively against them in the summer and we got the job done. They will have a respect for us as well,” he added.
Both Gerrard and left-back Ashley Cole are close to joining England’s exclusive club of ‘Centurions’. Gerrard is in line to win his 98th cap for England if he features against Ukraine after making his debut against the Eastern Europeans as a fresh-faced 19-year-old, 12 years ago.
Although anticipating his 100th cap, the Liverpool captain insists it is more about getting another three points en route to World Cup qualification.
“It’s a dream come true when you get your first cap at Wembley. 100 caps would be a nice touch, for both me and Ashley,” he added.
“The important focus is to get to the World Cup – individual achievements are always nice along the way but I’m more interested in the points against Ukraine.”