Parker and Gerrard 'clicked'

The midfielder believes the best is yet to come from their partnership

Scott Parker: The England man has grown into his holding midfield role ahead of England's quarter-final clash with Italy

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Scott Parker reckons his blossoming partnership with Steven Gerrard is getting better with every game they play together.

Parker is a relatively late arrival as a regular on the international scene despite making his debut nine years ago, but injuries to England stalwarts Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry ruled them out of the tournament and handed Parker his chance.

And the quietly impressive midfielder, who scooped the Football Writers' player of the year award in 2011, has taken it with both hands to form an solid partnership with Gerrard - a player he rates as one of the best in world.

Parker, playing in his first international tournament, says he is hoping to be rewarded for his fine performances with a starting place in the quarter-final game against Italy on Sunday.

Organised

"I think myself and Stevie have clicked really well this tournament," said Parker. "We're well organised. I know his game pretty well now and I'm sure he knows mine.

"We give the team a good base to work from, and hopefully we can maintain that.

"Stevie is one of the best midfielders in the world. That's been the case for many years and he's been the best in the Premier League.

"We lost some big players who had to drop out through injury like Frank and Gareth, which was disappointing.

"But myself and Stevie have taken on the challenge and hopefully we can carry on."

Progress

Despite expectations back home being the lowest in some years the England players have proved many wrong by topping their group with a 1-0 win over Ukraine on Tuesday.

"I don't think getting through to the quarter-finals was beyond our expectations," he added.

"I think we set out to take part in a tough group - but a group we thought we could progress from.

"We've done that and to come top is pleasing. Against Ukraine, they put us under a lot of pressure in a very hostile atmosphere.

"But it was backs against the wall, we dug it out and then in the second half we got the goal and really hung on. I think that suits our style."