Gerrard fears World Cup failure
England captain Steven Gerrard admits the prospect of failing to qualify for next year's World Cup is "daunting".
- Related Content
England sit two points behind Group H leaders Montenegro after drawing in Podgorica last month and face the prospect of a two-legged play-off should they not overhaul that deficit before the end of the campaign.
With the Football Association celebrating its 150th anniversary this year and the 2014 World Cup taking place in one of football's great heartlands, Brazil, Gerrard accepts there is a hint of added pressure.
8. Steven Gerrard
The Liverpool midfielder, speaking at the Soccerex Euro Forum in Manchester, told reporters: "It's daunting if you fear the challenge and start worrying and concern yourself with not qualifying; it is daunting, there's no getting away from it.
"It is a huge year for the FA, the 150-year anniversary and what they're doing for the game and putting back in.
"But in amongst that we've got a really big challenge ahead of us, and that's to qualify for probably the biggest World Cup that there's going to be.
"There's no bigger place than Brazil to have a World Cup except England for us players, so we want to be there and we're desperate to be there and we'll keep fighting all the way to the end."
Despite that admission, Gerrard remains confident England can qualify as group winners and believes the reaction to his side's 1-1 result in Montenegro was somewhat unfair.
"When we look back on the campaign, hopefully when we become group winners, we can look back and say this was a very good point," he said.
"I was a bit surprised by the reaction to that game because it was built up as a very tough away game. The bit of stick we've had since that result surprised me a bit.
"It was slightly harsh because of the build up, all the questions I answered were 'this team's tough, they've got world-class players, the atmosphere is going to be intimidating...do you realise how tough this game is going to be?'."