Germany striker Miroslav Klose believes England captain Steven Gerrard poses a greater threat to their chances of reaching the quarter-finals of World Cup 2010 than Wayne Rooney.
Ahead of the Sunday showdown in Bloemfontein, speculation has been rife as to the fitness of Manchester United striker Rooney, but Klose believes the Three Lions captain is just as influential as the Red Devils' talisman.
"I personally like Steven Gerrard as a player," Klose told the Daily Star Sunday.
"In many ways I see him as more important than Wayne Rooney as he can create everything for England in the middle of the park."
Klose also revealed his side have no special plans for Rooney and will be concentrating on the threat posed by the entire England starting line-up.
"I know a lot of hope is on Wayne Rooney for the England team but we won't give him any special attention," he added.
"Yes he is a good player and we will mark him like we would any good player, but we won't be doubling-up on him or anything like that."
The Bayern Munich hot-shot is also not getting carried away with the intense rivalry between the two countries, and is focusing on what it means in the tournament as opposed to attempting to settle old scores.
"There is history with England and we are all aware of that," he added.
"But I look at it as a last-16 match that gets us one game closer to the World Cup final. I see them [England] as an obstacle that I need to get over in order to get my hands on the World Cup."
Meanwhile, Klose's club and country team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger has admitted his concern over whether his side can cope in the absence of the influential Michael Ballack.
Ballack suffered ankle ligament damage in the FA Cup final for Chelsea following a rash challenge from Portsmouth's Kevin-Prince Boateng, and subsequently was ruled out of the tournament.
Schweinsteiger said: "What a major blow it has been losing someone of Michael's stature and prominence in our side.
"It's a blow to Michael and a blow to all of Germany. The man has got it all. The quality, the drive and respect of all the dressing room.
"We will miss him so much, particularly against England. He was all fried up for this tournament."
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