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The 33-year-old will captain Roy Hodgson's side in Brazil this summer and is set to flourish in a deep-lying role after his transformation at Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers

In what is set to be his last World Cup, Steven Gerrard will be attempting to lead England through a tricky group which contains Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.

The 33-year-old has admitted he will assess the future of his international career after the tournament but his contribution in Brazil will be pivotal to any success Roy Hodgson’s side may achieve. Goal takes a look at how he is shaping up ahead of this summer's finals.

SEASON 2013-14 ANALYSIS

Liverpool came within inches of lifting the Premier League trophy and the club’s marked improvement under Brendan Rodgers was replicated by Gerrard’s development in his deep-lying role.

Gerrard has successfully transformed from a marauding midfielder to one who diligently patrols the central area of the pitch but his heightened awareness of defensive duties have not had an overbearing effect on his attacking output.

The 33-year-old registered more assists than any other player in the Premier League this season and was eighth in the charts for the number of key passes made - only being beaten by the likes of Samir Nasri, Eden Hazard and Luis Suarez who are all in far more advanced positions.

Defensively, Gerrard’s statistics in terms of tackles won, interceptions and blocks are on a par with the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Sergio Busquets and Fernandinho, while he outshines one of the major catalysts in Manchester City’s title charge, Yaya Toure.

Gerrard offers the quality of being a rounded midfielder who is able to influence at both areas of the pitch, although his attacking output has been bolstered by his excellent delivery and composure at set-pieces.

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This will be Gerrard’s sixth major tournament after starting out with a fleeting appearance at Euro 2000.

A 20-year-old Gerrard was brought on as a second-half substitute for Michael Owen in England’s 1-0 win over Germany but Kevin Keegan’s side failed to navigate their way out of a group also containing Portugal and Romania.

The Liverpool captain missed the World Cup in 2002 with a groin injury but has been a regular fixture at tournament level for England since Euro 2004.

England have underwhelmed at both World Cups Gerrard has featured in, particularly in 2010 under Fabio Capello where they were comprehensively beaten in the round-of-16 stage by Germany.

And although England were dumped out in the quarter-finals at Euro 2012, the tournament was a personal triumph for Gerrard, who was a figurehead during the group stage, registering three assists, which led him to become the only England player named in Uefa’s Team of the Tournament.

LIKELY ROLE IN THE SQUAD

Deployed in the same role he has flourished in at Liverpool this season, Gerrard’s form will be vital in any progress England will make in Brazil.

Gerrard topped the Premier League assists chart with 13 this season, 11 of them coming from dead-ball situations.

And it’s a similar story with his goalscoring record - 10 of his 13 league goals were from the penalty spot.

Such consistency in Gerrard’s deliveries from set-pieces was a vital component in Liverpool’s title challenge, and it could prove to be the difference from the outset at the World Cup as England face the prospect of a tight opening encounter with Italy in humid conditions in Manaus.

Off the pitch, Gerrard has already been vocal in his support for England’s new-look side which includes several players with no experience at a major international tournament.

"We want the likes of Raheem [Sterling], Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw to just go there and enjoy it and keep doing what they've been doing for their clubs,” said the England captain.

"They are here because they are very talented. They are here on merit."



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