Football

Capello: Gerrard relishing new role

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Fabio Capello is happy to see Steven Gerrard loving life back in central midfield.

The Liverpool skipper has in recent years been shunted around the field as a succession of managers sought to work around reservations about his defensive strength. Former Reds boss Rafael Benitez employed Gerrard as a supporting striker to Fernando Torres, while Capello used the 30-year-old in a left-sided role to create an axis with Wayne Rooney.

"For a long time Steven Gerrard played for Liverpool like a second forward. This year he is playing like a midfielder," said Capello. "He has started to play fantastic. He wins back the ball and then makes really important passes."

Gerrard's contribution to successive Euro 2012 qualifying victories that have yielded seven goals could be bad news for Frank Lampard, even though James Milner is suspended for next month's encounter with Montenegro at Wembley.

Given long-standing reservations about the ability of Gerrard and Lampard to operate side-by-side, Capello cannot accommodate the pair without making a significant tactical change elsewhere, which he is loathe to do.

No tactical changes are required in defence, just personnel issues as skipper Rio Ferdinand and John Terry are due to be available to challenge Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott for the starting berths they performed so well in during Tuesday night's 3-1 win over Switzerland in Basle.

"I have always said the door is open for all the players," stressed Capello.

"I have to decide who will come in. After that I will decide who is in the first XI.

"But these players did very well. They won two games and scored seven goals. Also, they created a lot of chances. This is a nice group."

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Topics:
Football
John Terry
James Milner
Premier League
Fernando Torres
Joleon Lescott
Phil Jagielka
Wayne Rooney
Steven Gerrard
Liverpool
Rio Ferdinand

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