Steven Gerrard says playing for England is pinnacle after Rio Ferdinand withdrew

Steven Gerrard: Wants to lead England to the World Cup in Brazil

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Steven Gerrard insists playing for England is the 'pinnacle', but would not be drawn on Rio Ferdinand's decision to withdraw from the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

Ferdinand had been recalled to the England party for the away double-header, but pulled out due to a pre-planned fitness programme.

It subsequently emerged that the Manchester United defender has travelled to Qatar to be a TV pundit for Friday's game against San Marino and prompted Roy Hodgson to adopt a 'wait-and-see' stance on the centre-half's England future.

Gerrard, meanwhile, has outlined his commitment to the national team and the England captain is determined to lead his side to the World Cup in Brazil next year.

"Playing for England is the pinnacle of everyone's career," said Gerrard. "If I'm not playing [against San Marino], I'll be very disappointed, which shows what it means to me.

"Playing for England is the pinnacle of everyone's career. If I'm not playing [against San Marino], I'll be very disappointed, which shows what it means to me."

Steven Gerrard

"First of all, I don't know if Rio has turned his back on it. I don't know the details from his side. But that's what I want to achieve; help take this team to a World Cup in Brazil.

"At my age, there's no better stage for a footballer to play on. Especially after beating Brazil, on our day, with a full-strength squad, we're capable of beating the best.

"I have my own personal programme I stick to, but that's the same as any other player. Two days of recovery after a game, taking it easy so I'm fine."

England are expected to comfortably beat San Marino away from home after recording a 5-0 victory at Wembley earlier in the qualifying campaign.

However, Gerrard can still recall the Euro 2008 qualifier against rank outsiders Andorra in Barcelona when England were ridiculed by their own fans after a goalless first half before winning 3-0.

Gerrard ready to move on

The midfielder said "The pressure grows (against such sides) and the fans get frustrated which adds to the pressure. Then you get more tense, so it's about us getting that breakthrough as early as we can.

"We know they will be happy to stop us and keep the scoreline down.

"They'll slow the game down, give stupid fouls away, get onto the referee - basically do anything they can to stop us scoring.

"I am sure their plan will stay the same for 90 minutes - it certainly did at Wembley.

"But in any case, if we don't win the game by more than four goals, we'll get it (criticism) anyway."