Hodgson buoyed by Gerrard decision

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Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has welcomed captain Steven Gerrard's decision to publicly commit himself to the club.

The 30-year-old midfielder, who has been linked with a summer move to Real Madrid, backed Hodgson's plans, welcomed the arrival of new signing Joe Cole and said he was looking forward to playing alongside his England team-mate. And that has delighted Hodgson, who has met Gerrard only briefly since taking over from Rafael Benitez on July 1.

"It's a great piece of news," said the 62-year-old Englishman. "There won't be anyone in Liverpool who isn't delighted to hear that."

He added: "I'm really pleased about it because I've got great respect for Steven Gerrard.

"He's a player who I was really looking forward to working with when I came to Liverpool.

"It seems now with that commitment that this will happen. It gives everyone a boost without question.

"It will be a tough season, with a lot of matches and the disappointment of last season is going to take a while to dissipate, but it is very good that our best player is still going to be playing at this club.

"Hopefully with the signing of Joe Cole - and if we are lucky one or two others, to boost the squad - we will be going into this season's competition, maybe stronger on paper than we were last season."

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Steven Gerrard

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