Has Gerrard been a disappointment for England at major finals?

Steven Gerrard England

With England set to exit another major international tournament early, how has captain Steven Gerrard performed for his country when it matters most?

Euro 2000

It all started 14 years ago for Gerrard in Holland and Belgium. He made his international debut against Ukraine in May 2000 and was called up for Euro 2000, making a single substitute appearance in a 1–0 win over Germany before England were eliminated in the group stage. He was too young to have any influence. 

Euro 2004

After missing the 2002 World Cup through injury Gerrard's next taste of international tournament football was Euro 2004 in Portugal. With himself, Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes all vying for the central attacking midfield position he was given the nod by then manager Sven Goran Eriksson but underperfomed. In the first match against France with the score 1-1, Gerrard played a dreadful back pass straight to French forward Thierry Henry resulting in a penalty which Zinedine Zidane duly dispatched to give his side a 2-1 victory.

In the next group game against Swizerland, the Liverpool midfielder scored in a 3-0 win but his performances were overshadowed by a young Wayne Rooney who was taking the tournament by storm with some barnstorming displays. The fight for the central midfield role with Lampard dogged both their international careers and after another below-par Gerrard performance against Portugal in the quarter-finals, England were knocked out which only further enforced the idea they couldn't play together.

Gerrard rating 6/10

World Cup 2006 

The England team that went to Germany in the summer of 2006 had been labelled the 'Golden Generation' and you can see why. They had world class players everywhere. In defence they had John Terry, Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand while David Beckham, Michael Owen, Rooney and Lampard formed a daunting attack.

Gerrard played well and came away as England's top scorer with goals against Sweden and Trinidad and Tobago in the group stages, although his spot kick was one of three saved by goalkeeper Ricardo as England again bowed out again to Portugal in the quarter-finals on penalties. 

Gerrard rating 7/10

World Cup 2010

Probably the worst performance by an English side at any World Cup. The tournament started so well for Gerrard who was now the captain of the team. He opened the scoring in the first group game against the USA only for Rob Green's goalkeeping error from a Clint Dempsey effort to cancel it out as the game ended 1-1. England laboured to a drab 0-0 draw with Algeria before just sneaking into the last-16 with a 1-0 victory over Slovenia thanks to a Jermain Defoe strike.

But then it got even worse. In Bloemfontein England faced Germany but were thumped 4-1 by the old enemy, due in part to the referee's decision not to award a clear Lampard goal with the score 2-1. Gerrard did set up Upson's goal in the defeat but he was deployed on the left wing throughout the tournament and never showed his best form. 

Gerrard rating 6/10

Euro 2012

A new era under Roy Hodsgon had begun just weeks before and the tournament was viewed by many as a free hit. The England side however performed remarkably well despite the lack of preparation and went on to reach the quarter-finals again. Gerrard was Hodgson's captain and he rose to the occasion. 

He provided three assists and won two man of the match awards to help England finish top of their group in the qualifying round, with Italy waiting for them in the quarter-finals. In normal time the score was 0-0, but after an Andrea Pirlo masterclass, England exited again on penalties despite Gerrard scoring his. The Liverpool captain was later the only England player to be named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament.

Gerrard rating 9/10

World Cup 2014

So far it has been a miserable World Cup for the England captain. Despite playing well in the opening game against Italy, they lost 2-1 thanks to a Mario Balotelli header and Gerrard was again outshone by Pirlo in midfield.  This was followed by an error strewn display against the Uruguayans in which he was at fault for both of Luis Suarez's goals. He told the Daily Telegraph: “They were sloppy goals and we have to take responsibility for that as a team. The first one he’s peeled off onto the back post, it’s a fantastic ball by Edinson Cavani. The second one, I’ve gone to try and get good contact on the ball and I haven’t got good enough contact on it and I’ve been punished for it.”

Gerrard rating 4/10

So it looks like Gerrard after 14 years of service, may bow out of International football and focus on his club career with Liverpool. Asked about his England future, 34-year-old Gerrard, who has 113 caps, added: It's not the moment now. But as I said before the tournament, I'll be respectful to you guys the press, so let's see what happens over the next four or five days and we'll talk again.” 

It's time England put their faith in the younger generation with the likes of Wilshere, Barkley and Sterling all ready to take centre stage. Thank you Steven for the memories, its just a shame there aren't too many good ones. 

Overall Verdict: 7/10 

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