Steven Gerrard has admitted he is disappointed not to be leading England out at Wembley tonight.
Gerrard will be back amongst Fabio Capello’s foot soldiers for the Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro after Rio Ferdinand was handed the captain’s armband yesterday.
There are plenty of people who feel Capello has made a mistake given the mature manner with which Gerrard handled the responsibility, both during the World Cup and particularly the three games since.
The Liverpool skipper is eager not to rock any boats and insisted he knew he only had the job on a temporary basis until Ferdinand returned from his knee injury.
But he accepts he will miss walking out at the head of affairs tonight.
“I am disappointed I am not going to be leading the boys out,” Gerrard told ITV 1.
“It has been a terrific experience. I have loved every minute.
“But I totally understood the situation from day one the reason why I became stand-in captain. Now Rio is back fit he gets the job.”
However, Gerrard does acknowledge he is producing his most consistent performances for his country.
One of only a couple of England players to excel in South Africa, Gerrard arguably kept Capello in a job with his two goals to turn August’s friendly with Hungary on its head.
Gerrard then handled the fall-out from Wayne Rooney’s personal problems with commendable grace, whilst at the same time, guiding England to impressive victories over Bulgaria and Switzerland in their opening two Group G games.
“Maybe it has been my best spell,” admitted the 30-year-old.
“The boost you get when the manager says you are leading the team out and you are wearing the armband is massive.
“It certainly helps, although I would like to think my performances have improved anyway.
“I am really happy with how I played since the manager came in.”