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The skipper is keen to put the nightmare of failing to qualify for Euro 2008 behind him and has warned his opponents the Three Lions will play without pressure on Tuesday night

England captain Steven Gerrard has warned Poland ahead of Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifier at Wembley that the team will use the pain of failing to qualify for Euro 2008 to spur them on.

Roy Hodgson's men, who currently top of Group H with 19 points – one ahead of Ukraine who travel to face minnows San Marino – know failure to win will likely result in a two-legged qualification play-off.

But Gerrard insists the Three Lions will play without fear and pressure to ensure their qualification for next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

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“There’s a huge expectation among the fans and the media that comes with playing for England but the word ‘fear’ isn’t helpful,” he told reporters.

“There is pressure but you’ve got to be excited by games like this, about being in this position.

“At times in the past the team has played with too much fear and pressure on us but Roy has created an atmosphere that is very relaxed but, at the same time, very professional, and he continues to show trust in his players.

“We’re all aware about how big this is and about what’s at stake and we need to seize this moment. I’ll be the proudest man in the country if we get the win we’re after.”

Following the heartache of failing to qualify for Euro 2008, Gerrard admits he is keen to avenge the 3-2 loss against Croatia by leading England to Brazil.

He added: “When [Roy Hodgson] first called me and gave me the captaincy full time, this was the job he gave me: to do as well as we could in the Euros and then lead the lads to Brazil.

“So it would be a big personal achievement for me to say I was the real captain through a campaign and took the lads to Brazil. I’d be delighted.”

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