Steven Gerrard will tonight join an elite band of England footballers to earn 100 caps for the national side – a milestone only five other players have reached.
Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore are the most decorated of English centurions having been at the centre of 1966’s World Cup-winning team while Peter Shilton is one of the most celebrated keepers of all time, David Beckham a national institution and legendary Wolves centre half Billy Wright the man who started it all, making history in 1959 as the first person to hit 100 appearances. But there’s something special about Gerrard, his cavalier style of play the perfect blend of modern technical brilliance and old fashioned English industriousness.
To celebrate the occasion, here’s the Liverpool captain’s top five moments in an England shirt…
Debut star (vs. Ukraine, May 2000)
Gerrard came on for Michael Owen in a pre-Euro 2000 friendly having caught the eye of Kevin Keegan in the build-up to the tournament. An impressive cameo alongside Paul Scholes had fans predicting he was an England legend in the making. They weren’t wrong…
Demolition job (vs. Germany, September 2001)
The Liverpool midfielder truly arrived on the international scene with his performance in this 2002 World Cup qualifier in which England tore apart their fiercest rivals. 5-1 was the score at the final whistle, giving a nation hope for a new dawn of English football. It wasn’t to be but Gerrard, who was at the heart of that victory with a storming display, also scoring his first international goal, has rarely dropped below the quality he exhibited in that game.
World Cup screamer (vs. Trinidad and Tobago, June 2006)
Gerrard has notched up an admirable 19 goals for his country. This has to go down as one of the most memorable, a thunderbolt from 20 yards out with the game precariously placed at 1-0. His strike put the tie beyond Trinidad and Tobago and England into the next round of the 2006 World Cup.
Diamond in the rough (vs. USA, June 2010)
England’s 2010 World Cup campaign may have ended in disaster – a string of subpar performances saw Fabio Capello’s team scrape unconvincingly out of the group stages only to be smashed 4-1 by Germany in the knockout stages. One silver lining, however, was Gerrard who, elected captain, was one of the few players to replicate their bright club form at the tournament, scoring a fantastic team goal within the opening minutes of the opening game against USA.
Running the show (vs. Ukraine, June 2012)
Gerrard gave what team mate Wayne Rooney described as his best ever England performance against Ukraine, providing the striker with the cross that led to the goal that took England into the next round.
At 32, there are some who say Gerrard won’t make it much beyond his 100th cap. But if the insurmountable Scouser has proven anything in his career, it’s to never write him off.
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