| KRAKOW, Poland, June 25
KRAKOW, Poland, June 25 England captain Steven
Gerrard is committed to leading his side towards the 2014 World
Cup despite being devastated by yet another major tournament
heartache at the European Championship.
There had been some speculation the 32-year-old might quit
internationals but he believes an improved performance in
Ukraine and Poland bodes well even if England have to learn to
keep the ball better.
"I've had a brief chat with the manager, I'm available as
long as I'm wanted at this level," Gerrard told a news
conference on Monday, hours after England lost on penalties to
Italy in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals following a 0-0 draw in
"At times the football hasn't been fantastic. Possession
stats speak for themselves and moving forward we have to be
better at keeping the ball.
"(But) supporters will agree we have played for the shirt.
We think we performed to a better level than at previous
tournaments for sure."
Italy had 64 percent possession and had 35 shots to
Pundits said it would have been a travesty had Italy lost on
penalties but England's dreadful record at spot kicks, winning
just one shootout in seven at major tournaments, meant justice
England manager Roy Hodgson said they had done everything
they could to be ready for penalties but that the tension of a
big match cannot be replicated.
"Nothing that you can do will ever prepare you for the
moment," he said.
"We've practised, we talked about it, we knew where their
penalty takers would put their shots.
"Penalty shootouts are a game within themselves. We've got
to get better to beat teams in 90 minutes."
England now fly home from their Krakow base in search of
more creative and technically adept players in the youth ranks
and in a Premier League already dominated by foreign names.
(Editing by Justin Palmer)