Steven Gerrard hits back at claims

England midfielder Steven GerrardEngland captain Steven Gerrard has hit back at Patrick Vieira over claims that the nation’s young home-grown players are not as driven as they used to be.

The Manchester City football development executive recently questioned the latest generation of English youngsters and their motivation of representing their country.

However, ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Poland, Gerrard has defended the young players that are eager to make the national set-up.

“I don’t really care what Patrick Vieira says,” the Liverpool midfielder told reporters, published in the Daily Mail.

“It surprised me to read that. The impression I get from young players at Liverpool is that 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.

“It is great for English football that we are producing these players. They are the players that are keeping the likes of myself on my toes.

“I know I’ve got to keep a consistency in my game at this level to stay in the team. All the experienced players are aware of that,” he continued.

Gerrard is in line to make his 99th cap against the Warsaw-based team, but is playing down the individual significance and eager to win three points.

“Every time you put the England shirt on it is a proud moment.

“To get 99 is a fantastic achievement for myself but it will only be a good memory tomorrow night if we get the three points that we came for,” he concluded.

Gerrard returns to the fray after being suspended for Friday’s 5-0 win over San Marino.

By Gareth McKnight