GERRARD HAPPY TO OVERCOME TEST
Steven Gerrard hailed England's win over Belgium as the perfect dress rehearsal for their European Championship opener against France - even if it came at some cost.
Captain Gerrard was one of several walking wounded after a bruising 1-0 Wembley victory in the final warm-up friendly before Euro 2012.
The Liverpool star was withdrawn late on through cramp after a typical all-action display but he got off lightly compared to Gary Cahill, John Terry and Joleon Lescott.
The Football Association are set to reveal on Sunday whether England's injury jinx had struck again, with Cahill set to have a second scan on his haw injury and Terry facing a scan on his hamstring.
Lescott finished the game with a bleeding head wound bandaged up, while concerns remain over Scott Parker's Achilles.
However, Gerrard shrugged off concerns Saturday's game had been too physical for comfort.
"It's good - it's the test we needed," he said.
"We've got over a week now to dust ourselves down and recover and get ourselves ready for France.
"I think France is going to be similar.
"A performance like that is going to be needed, if not a little bit better."
He added of the June 11 Group D clash in Ukraine: "We're going to have to be very disciplined and workmanlike without the ball.
"I thought we were solid [against Belgium].
"We restricted them to very few efforts on goal.
"Let's not underestimate Belgium. Even though they're not in this tournament, they'll be at the next World Cup and they'll be some team."
Gerrard also played down fears about his own fitness, with England having already lost fellow midfielders Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry to injury.
The 32-year-old said: "I tired towards the end of the game but it's the first time I've played that amount of football since the FA Cup final, so I'll benefit from those minutes.
"I'll be fine for the France game."
Gerrard was far more concerned about Cahill.
"It'll be a huge blow if Gary was to drop out as well," he said.
"He's had a fantastic six months since he's gone to Chelsea.
"We limited Belgium to very few efforts on goal and Gary was part of that - we need him fit."
Gerrard now has two wins from two games as full-time skipper thanks to back-to-back 1-0 victories against Norway and Belgium.
But the man who was parachuted into the job for England's doomed 2010 World Cup campaign was taking nothing for granted ahead of his second major tournament with the armband.
"We feel okay, the mood's good," he said.
"We're on the back of two wins but we're not getting carried away.
"We know we can still improve.
"We need to keep listening to the manager, keep getting his ideas and I'm sure we'll impress and improve as time goes on."
New boss Roy Hodgson appears to have decided England's best hope in Poland and Ukraine involves defending deep and launching lightning raids the moment they win the ball back.
The approach - similar to that Chelsea employed during their Champions League triumph - may win them few friends but it has ultimately proved effective thus far.
Gerrard, whose midfield challenge set up the move for Danny Welbeck's winner, said: "The manager wants us, if we get a chance, to dispossess the opposition in dangerous areas and I got the chance right in centre midfield to nick the ball away.
"Goals come from situations like that.
"We're pleased with the goal but also got our fingers crossed for Gary that he pulls through."
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