Gerrard: No pressure suits England

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Newly appointed England captain, Steven Gerrard, says players have learned from their past disappointments not to be over-confident, and hopes that the Three Lions will perform without the usual pressure.

The nations' low expectations towards Euro 2012 success could be down to poor performances in previous major tournaments.

The Liverpool skipper is adamant that they won't make that mistake this time around and can sense a new mood of realism among the squad.

"We put two or three results together and the nation gets carried away and also the players start believing that we're great. Maybe we go into tournaments believing we're better than we are.

"Sometimes we thought we only had to turn up with England because we had a lot of top players. But we just haven't performed, we haven't clicked, we haven't gelled."

After losing out on penalties to both Portugal in Euro 2004 and Germany in the 2006 World Cup, England fans are not expecting much this time around, but Gerrard believes this could work in their favour.

"We have been very unlucky in tournaments," said the midfielder. "To go out in the quarter-finals on a penalty shoot-out, you're so close to going back as heroes because if you get to the last four of a tournament, you've done really well, especially with the standard of teams.

"I think this time there's a lot of realism about. Expectations are maybe down because we've not performed and we haven't delivered in the previous tournaments.

"The pressure and the expectation seems to be slightly in our favour this time rather than a hindrance and weight on our shoulders so we're hoping we can use that to our advantage."

The 31-year-old says he takes inspiration from Chelsea's Champions League success this season.

"Look at Chelsea the other night. They weren't the best team on the night. They weren't the best team against Barcelona, but they're European champions and they deserve it.

"So there is a chance when it comes to any big prize in football that the team which isn't the favourite can win it."

Gerrard believes England can prosper in Poland and Ukraine because they will not be burdened by carrying the inflated hopes of the country on their shoulders.

The Three Lions kick-start their Euro 2012 campaign at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk on Monday June 11, where they face France.

Steven Gerrard
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