Steven Gerrard (far left): Captain excited over youthful talent in England's World Cup squad
Bethany Clarke/Getty Images for 1966 Entertainm
Steven Gerrard insists there is real belief in the England squad that they can do well at the World Cup in Brazil.
The England captain admitted that the lower expectations surrounding the camp could work in Roy Hodgson’s men’s favour next month.
England take on Italy in their opening game in the city of Manaus, in the Amazon jungle, on June 14.
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Training camps in Portugal and Miami will help Hodgson’s squad acclimatise to the warm tropical conditions in northern Brazil before flying south to play Uruguay in Sao Paulo on Thursday, June 19 and Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday, June 24.
Gerrard told Sky Sports News: "I think (low expectations) can help but there’s no harm in dreaming. Us players dream as well, you always say to yourself ‘what if’, ‘what if it does happen’ and you prove all the doubters wrong and you go on to have a successful World Cup?
"So there’s no harm in dreaming but the reality is that there are a lot of top teams going to this World Cup. It’s a very difficult competition but there’s excitement and belief in the squad they we can do well.
"It’s for real now. It’s not far away and the preparations start (Monday) when we get over to Portugal and do our first training session. There’s certainly a lot of excitement and belief in the squad."
The 23-man party has a youthful look, featuring the likes of 20-year-old Ross Barkley of Everton and teenagers Raheem Sterling of Liverpool and Southampton’s Luke Shaw.
Gerrard added: "They’re young lads, who have had terrific seasons. We’ve got an endless amount of talent and ability and I think all the England fans hope the players can perform at a World Cup with no fear and give it their best shot."
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, the vice-captain, is the oldest member of the squad at nearly 36 years of age and is also excited by the talent of his younger England colleagues.
"It’s a good squad with a mixture of youth and experience," Lampard said. "I think we were crying out a few years ago for these young boys to come through and excite us and I think they’ve done that.
"As an experienced, oldermember of the squad I do enjoy having that around, it does feel good. Hopefully they play without fear and go and play well."
Another one of the young players, Gerrard’s Liverpool team-mate Daniel Sturridge, 23, says he is looking forward to England playing well at his first World Cup.
"It’s difficult to win, you have to have a lot of luck," he said. "It’s important to go out there and play how we play. It’s important to play our football and go out there and impose ourselves on the opposition."