Peformances of young players in Sweden allows England skipper to draw on positives
Sweden 4-2 England
7.30pm, Wednesday 14 November 2012
Friends Arena, Stockholm
’s 100th international appearance ended in disappointment as England suffered defeat in Sweden.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic put the hosts ahead but Danny Welbeck
equalised before Gerrard set up debutant Steven Caulker
to give the Three Lions a half-time lead.
However, three stunning second-half strikes from Ibrahimlovic gave Sweden a 4-2 victory to spoil Gerrard’s centenary celebrations.
The Liverpool and Three Lions skipper became the sixth Englishman to reach the milestone – 12 years after making his international debut.
But despite the loss, Gerrard said: “There were a lot of positives from our point of view tonight.
“There were a lot of young boys out there playing their first games and we can take a lot away from this game.
“We collapsed a little bit towards the end but we can learn from that.
“When you make more than three substitutions they always spoil a game.
“But the manager is under huge pressure from the clubs and he’s respecting them because a lot of the players are playing in Europe, but it does upset the rhythm.
“I thoiught we were very comfortable in the game up until we started to make loads of changes but it has to be done in these friendlies.”
England boss Roy Hodgson
handed debuts to Caulker, Raheem Sterling
and Leon Osman
while Carl Jenkinson
, Ryan Shawcross
and Wilfried Zaha
also made their bows as second-half substitutes.
But the night belonged to Paris St-Germain star Ibrahimovic, whose spectacular final effort capped a memorable four-goal display.
Gerrard added: "I stick by my opinion Zinedine Zidane was the best player of his generation but Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s performance tonight was certainly world class and credit to him.
"He scored one of the best goals I’ve ever seen live. It was his night.
“If someone scores four goals – in the way he scored them – it’s got to be up there with the best individual performances you’ve seen."
However, Gerrard revealed he would be keeping hold of his 100th England shirt rather than swapping it with the Swedish star.
He said: “This is a special shirt for me and I’ll give this to my dad – he’s supported me all the way through so it’ll be a nice present for him.