Steven Gerrard insists English youngsters do have the hunger to play for their country
By Pete O'Rourke - Follow me: @skysportspeteo. Last Updated: 16/10/12 7:18pm
Steven Gerrard: Dismissed claims from Patrick Vieira over English youngsters
Steven Gerrard has rubbished suggestions by Patrick Vieira that young English players no longer have the desire to play for their country.
Former France international Vieira said last week that today's crop are 'not as proud as they once were of representing their nation'.
But Gerrard, who will win his 99th cap when leading out the side against Poland this evening, insists the commitment of Roy Hodgson's squad cannot be questioned.
"I don't really care what Patrick Vieira says. It surprised me to read that"
"I don't really care what Patrick Vieira says," he said. "It surprised me to read that. The impression I get from young players at Liverpool is they're desperate to get into this set-up.
"You can see in their faces that, when they're left out, it has disappointed them. The young players are hungry."
And Gerrard believes the emergence of Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley shows young talent is now coming through to the senior squad.
"Maybe, in the past, there weren't youngsters coming through to challenge but the proof's there now," he added.
"The likes of Tom and Danny are pushing for regular starts in this team and we as senior players are aware of that.
"It keeps everyone on their toes and will raise performances, individually and collectively.
"It's important not to get carried away with these youngsters - there's a long way to go. But there's talent there to give us real optimism for the future."