Gerrard looking for speedy England improvement

The Three Lions skipper is excited about alterations to youth coaching, but hopes it will not take a new generation to help match world football's big guns

England captain Steven Gerrard is targeting a quick improvement in international form following his side's lacklustre exit from Euro 2012.

The Three Lions were heavily criticised for their poor ball possession and below-par technical skill in comparison to Italy during their quarter-final defeat in Kiev.

The Football Association has recently voted to implement wholesale changes to youth coaching in the UK and, combined with the opening of the St George's Park coaching hub, it is hoped that the system will produce a new generation of technically-proficient players - but the Liverpool midfielder hopes it will not take that long for improvement to take place.

"The education of the young kids is vital," said Gerrard.

"But I hope it doesn't take 10 years. I hope we're good enough to improve and bridge the gap with these big teams before that."

When answering questions concerning the Three Lions' poor performance against the Azzurri, he was at a loss to explain how it happened.

"I don't know," he said.

"It's a difficult question to answer and I am sure it's one of the biggest points of this tournament that the management and coaching staff will have to look into.

"Keeping the ball - especially at this level - is fundamental. It's key if you want to beat the big teams in these tournaments.

"You work so hard without it and your opponent ends up running you into the ground and creating chances.

"Football's a mad game at times. If we had won the penalty shoot-out we would have been through to the last four."

A number of critics have pointed to disappointing facts and figures to hit out at the national team, but Gerrard says he is not concerned.

"I don't look at stats too much unless it's clear time and time again that something's sticking out so obviously.

"In this tournament we have come up short as far as possession is concerned."