We haven't been easy on Steven Gerrard in the hours and days since the loss to Arsenal on Sunday, and while the criticism feels more than justified, it still comes with a twinge of pain given all Gerrard's done for the club. His ability to churn out the types of performances he did on a consistent basis during the 2008-2009 season might be fading, but he's still an undeniably important figure for the club, and one that's deserving of continued goodwill regardless of his performances. Whether or not he's deserving of continued appearances in the starting eleven is probably a different discussion.
So with the positive sentiment in mind it's a little hard to see him entering the fray once again with England, especially under a manager who's not likely to oversee an international trophy to cap to Gerrard's international career. The player is hopeful but realistic, while Roy Hodgson yet again trips over himself to make sure that he's not in a position in which people might actually expect something of him.
Gerrard's hope is that England can and will develop from now until the 2014 World Cup (and actually qualify), stating that "this team have every chance to improve and get better in the next few years, with players coming through and those players with the experience. We have to have that faith and keep believing. Never stop believing in football. Miracles do happen. It has been proved."
And they'll have to so long as the manager keeps pointing out how slim their chances are and how danger lurks around every corner: "We know what we have to do but you don't get what you want by saying the right things. You have to be good enough. We are an experienced group but there are plenty of banana skins and no free hits out there."
Well that's just the sort of hope-inspiring stuff that Gerrard was talking about. Or you know, not that at all.