Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Ibrahimovic tells Gerrard to move on
Swedish captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes the time is right for England counterpart Steven Gerrard to move from Liverpool and join "a big international club."
Ibrahimovic is a big admirer of the midfielder who is poised to win his 100th cap in Wednesday's international between the two countries to mark the opening of the Friends Arena in Stockholm. But he feels Gerrard should make the break from Anfield after more than a decade of loyal service to the Reds.
Ibrahimovic said: "I think Steven Gerrard is respected throughout Europe. I know so because he is always the player the coach says be careful with because he is the one that makes the difference. But, although of course Liverpool is a big club, I would like to see Steven at a big international club."
The Swede added: "I would like to see that also for England because it is very exciting when someone goes abroad and shows he who he is also in another competition. For me, a fantastic player can make the difference in every country wherever he plays. I'm pretty sure Steven would do that also. Now he is playing one of the best leagues in the world, a fantastic player."
Ibrahimovic believes Gerrard has more skills to offer than the traditional England player.
He said: "A typical English player is strong with a big heart, always aggressive and never gives up. But, for me, Gerrard feels more international. He has more skills than the normal player."
Sweden coach Eric Hamren admits he knows little about Crystal Palace's exciting winger Wilfried Zaha after his call-up into the England squad. But he has urged that expectation levels placed on Zaha be kept in perspective.
Hamren said: "I don't know about him. I will have some information. I have a scout so he can look but, for this game, I haven't been so focused on England because we have only had a couple of days to prepare. For me, it's more the team England than particular players but I hope I will not have a bad surprise from this player (Zaha). You scare me when you say this."
In terms of Zaha's potential, Hamren said: "Sometimes you (the media) get carried away. You have to need those heroes and stars and sometimes you make them a star too early. Then it is a problem for a player. It is better to make him a star when he is a star because we have seen some examples of that in world football.
"I hope he is not a star tomorrow but in the future, I hope you are right. I won't give you names of people (who have been built up too quickly) but I have some in my head I am directly thinking about. We have the same here in Sweden, there are a lot of new Zlatans (Ibrahimovic) mentioned in the media. We have the same story and so far we have just one Zlatan."