Gerrard gears up for new season

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> After David Beckham stepped down England captain, new coach Steve McClaren is sorting out the candidates to appoint a new skipper.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:35 IST
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After David Beckham stepped down England captain, new coach Steve McClaren is sorting out the candidates to appoint a new skipper. Although it is most likely that Chelsea's John Terry will replace Beckham as captain, Liverpool's Steven Gerrard is also one of the leading contenders for the job. "If John Terry got the England captaincy, I'd shake his hand and wish him all the best. He's a fantastic captain for Chelsea. There's other candidates out there as well and we'll have to wait and see who Steve McClaren decides to go with," said Gerrard. However, the Liverpool skipper doesn't hide his ambition to be captain of England. "I'm really flattered to be involved in it, but I'm not going to use the media to push myself forward for the captaincy. It's Steve McClaren's decision." "I'd love to captain the country. I've experienced it before and it's a great feeling. But my main priority at the moment is being Liverpool captain," he added. Gerrard, who scored 20 goals from midfield last season, has a relatively rare combination of talent with inspirational ability. Ready for Chelsea A year ago, Liverpool almost lost Gerrard to Chelsea, but he decided to stay at Anfield. Without him, the team would not have finished third in the Premier League and won the cup. Now his ambition is to win the league and a sixth title for Liverpool in Europe's most prestigious competition. "I think we've got a good chance. I'm realistic to say that it's going to be difficult to win the league this year. Chelsea have strengthened again, and so have Manchester United and Arsenal. But we need to keep improving on our form, said Gerrard. Gerrard believes that his team can give Chelsea a fright by beating Jose Mourinho's stars in the traditional season curtain raiser, the Community Shield, in Cardiff, Wales, on August 12. "It's a good chance for us to show that Chelsea aren't unbeatable and to test ourselves against the side that has proved itself the best over the past two seasons," he added. However, Gerrard's optimism is not matched by the bookmakers. The start of the league season is almost a month away and yet Chelsea, which went half a century without winning the league title before Mourinho arrived, already is a 4-9 favourite to win a third straight title. (AP)

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