The Liverpool skipper explained that despite the pain of a defeat on penalties, the team can be proud of its effort but urged the side to improve on the ball to move forward
Steven Gerrard insisted that England "gave a good account of themselves" at Euro 2012 despite exiting the tournament at the quarterfinal stage in a 4-2 penalty shootout defeat to Italy after a scoreless 120 minutes.
When asked to evaluate the national team's overall performance in Poland and Ukraine, the Three Lions captain insisted that he and his teammates can be proud of their displays after having just two months to work with new manager Roy Hodgson.
However, he also admitted that the team are disappointed to have been knocked out of the competition via spot-kicks, but defended their conservative style of play.
"I think the supporters will agree with me that we have played for the shirt," he told reporters. "We’ve given a lot of effort out there, but it’ll be mixed because we’ve gone out in the quarter-final again to a penalty shoot-out so we are all hurt and disappointed.
"I think if you look at the big picture from how we’ve done from when we met up four or five weeks ago, everyone has given it their best shot."
Asked whether the team and the morale had improved from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa after the demoralizing last-16 exit to Germany, he drew attention to the considerable effort demonstrated over the four matches, but believes they must now change their football philosophy in order to move forward.
"I think we performed to a better level at this competition than at previous tournaments and gave a good account of ourselves," he commented. "At times the football hasn’t been fantastic – we haven’t blown people away. But we’ve stuck together, fought hard, and given every inch of effort we can give.
"At times it’s been difficult without the ball, and the possession stats speak for themselves, which tells us that moving forward as a nation we do need to try and improve with the ball. But as far as effort and commitment are concerned, as captain of the team, I look round the dressing room and everyone’s given everything they’ve got and that’s all you can ask for."