Gerrard warns England not to underestimate Ukraine

The Liverpool captain states the Three Lions should respect their World Cup qualifying opponents and insists he's ready to help the side's younger members.
Midfielder Steven Gerrard has urged his England teammates to give Ukraine the respect it deserves as the two sides prepare to clash in a 2014 World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Tuesday.

The two countries met in the group stages of Euro 2012 in the summer, with England edging to a narrow 1-0 win but the tournament co-hosts gave the Three Lions a mighty scare before eventually succumbing.

Few would forget another ‘phantom goal’ being ruled out, despite Marko Devic’s shot appearing to cross the line before John Terry cleared.

And despite Wayne Rooney’s winner that day, Gerrard warns Ukraine is far too good a side to disregard as England looks to impress again following Friday’s 5-0 away win in Moldova.

He told the Daily Mirror: "There were times in the Euros when we gave them too much respect and stood off them and they had a few dangerous opportunities to score. Over the 90 minutes, they could feel hard done by not to have got at least a point.

"The difference for this game is we didn't know too much about Moldova before that game. We performed really well, but this game will be a bigger and tougher test.

"If you stand off them [Ukraine] and give them too much respect, they have players who can hurt us. We need to be on it against them.

Both Gerrard and left back Ashley Cole are close to joining England's exclusive club of 'Centurions'. Gerrard is in line to win his 98th cap for England if he features against Ukraine after making his debut against the Eastern Europeans as a fresh-faced 19-year-old, 12 years ago.

Although anticipating his 100th cap, the Liverpool captain insists it is more about getting another three points en route to World Cup qualification.

"It's a dream come true when you get your first cap at Wembley, 100 caps would be a nice touch, for both me and Ashley," he added.

"The important focus is to get to the World Cup - individual achievements are always nice along the way but I'm more interested in the points against Ukraine.”

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