World class Gerrard is our inspiration, declares Parker

The England skipper shone in the Three Lions' hard-fought victory over Ukraine and his midfield partner believes the Liverpool stalwart is capable of making Euro 2012 his own
James Goldman
 In Donetsk
Steven Gerrard’s stellar performances at Euro 2012 have finally helped cement his reputation as a world class player at international level, according to his England midfield partner Scott Parker.

The Three Lions skipper has been a force at Premier League and Champions League level for well over a decade, but has struggled to produce his best form in an England shirt consistently, particularly at major tournament.

Gerrard was a man possessed, however, in the second-half against Ukraine on Tuesday, almost single-handedly dragging England over the line and producing his third assist of the tournament with a devilish cross which allowed Wayne Rooney to nod in the only goal and seal a quarter-final berth.

“For sure, he's been one of the best in the world for some many years, certainly he's the best in the Premier League and he's one of the best midfielders in the world,” said Parker.

“I think me and Stevie have clicked really well, we're well organised, I know his game pretty well now and I'm sure he knows mine. We give the team a good base, and hopefully we can maintain that.

“Obviously some big players have dropped out through injury, which is disappointing, but me and Stevie have taken it on and hopefully we can carry on.”

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England arrived in Ukraine with little expected of them having only recently appointed Roy Hodgson as Fabio Capello’s successor. A solid, if not spectacular, string of performances has raised the levels of optimism, and Parker, who has been a model of consistency alongside Gerrard, insists there is more to come from this group of players.

He said: “Over this tournament we've shown we've got a lot of commitment and togetherness, and it's perfect for us. I think that suits our style.

“We've set ourselves up. We have a real togetherness in the camp and a real belief. In life it is crucial to have that belief and positivity and I think we've shown that is what we've got. It can take you far.

“There's a confidence in the group and I think by moving on there's still hopefully a little bit more to come but only time will tell. We'll go and prepare for the next game and see what happens.”