Gerrard: England must take control
Steven Gerrard admits he is benefiting from his own fitness and training programme as he challenged England to "take control" of their World Cup destiny by defeating San Marino and Montenegro.
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The England skipper endured a frustrating period when he was sidelined with niggling groin problems.
But he has been a virtual ever present for Liverpool this season in addition to spearheading his country's hopes of reaching the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
Gerrard said: "I'm benefiting from my own training schedule, I'm playing games and feeling really good.
"Ninety per cent of the players I play with at Liverpool and England have a very similar programme to myself.
"Mine is certainly working at the moment and I'm feeling really good.
"Every player wants to play without niggles. That is how you can perform as high as you can.
"That's where I feel I am at the moment and I'm really pleased with my body.
"I had a frustrating period with my groins at one stage in which I missed a year's football - but I'm certainly making up for that now."
England are currently two points adrift of group leaders Montenegro, whom they visit on Tuesday after Friday evening's clash away to minnows San Marino.
Gerrard insists both games are of equal importance in ensuring Roy Hodgson's side secure pole position in the group.
He said: "We understand the game on Tuesday will be a lot more difficult and people are going to focus more on that game.
"But this game in San Marino is no more less important than Tuesday because at the end of the day we get the same out of it if we win, three points.
"We want to take control of the group and want to wake up on Wednesday in control of this group because we don't play another qualifier until next season.
"It is very important we take a foothold now and are in the driving seat." Gerrard is adamant England will pay the utmost respect to San Marino who were beaten 5-0 at Wembley after adopting a defence-minded approach.
He said: "We do understand who we are up against. On paper we are stronger than the opposition. But sometimes when you play these teams, they cause different problems.
"It becomes an attack versus defence game, they try and slow the game down, commit fouls, will try and slow us down because we like to play at a fast tempo.
"I'm sure their plan will stay the same for 90 minutes. It certainly did at Wembley, to try to keep the score down, and we are expecting the same again.
"We need to show the same levels of professionalism and same intensity to get that breakthrough as soon as possible.
"The longer the game goes on at nil-nil, it gets a bit edgy.
"I'm sure the pitch will have a few issues as well but, if we approach it professionally and near the level we can play, it should be enough to get the three points."