Gerrard to earn 100th cap when he skippers England in Sweden

Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard
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Steven Gerrard will join a select band of players to reach 100 caps when he leads England in their friendly with Sweden in Stockholm next Wednesday.

Although coach Roy Hodgson indicated he would leave Gerrard out in the immediate aftermath of last month’s World Cup stalemate with Poland in Warsaw, it is understood the Liverpool midfielder will be included in the squad when it is unveiled today.

Barring injury, it means Gerrard will join Peter Shilton, David Beckham, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton and Billy Wright in becoming England’s sixth centurion.

It does seem unlikely Gerrard will be joined by Ashley Cole, who is also on 99 caps but who missed Chelsea’s Champions League encounter with Shakhtar Donetsk last night with a hamstring injury.

Gerrard’s inclusion shows how keen Hodgson is to acknowledge Sweden’s desire to get the England team to open their new stadium, the 50,000-capacity Friends Arena in Solna.

It also means Wayne Rooney is likely to be picked. Sir Alex Ferguson has already cleared Rooney to make the journey and the fact England are staying in Manchester on Sunday and Monday, and training at Manchester United’s Carrington training complex, eases further fears about the amount being demanded of Hodgson’s talisman.

Rooney could be joined by team-mate Ashley Young, who has recovered from the knee injury that has kept him out of all England’s competitive fixtures this season.

There could be some younger faces though, with Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling and Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson among those set to be included.

There is bound to be some talk of Jack Wilshere’s return, especially as he has a free weekend looming following his dismissal at Manchester United last Saturday.

However, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has already cautioned against such a move, while Hodgson himself is wary of expecting too much of the 20-year-old so soon after his return from injury.

Frank Lampard has already been ruled out, while Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, Tottenham duo Steven Caulker and Jake Livermore and Southampton’s Adam Lallana are others who might hope for a call.