Gerrard praises Ibra master class

Steven Gerrard hailed the performance of Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Steven Gerrard hailed the performance of Zlatan Ibrahimovic

First published in National Sport © by

England skipper Steven Gerrard saluted a "world-class performance" from four-goal Swedish captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic which meant his 100th cap ended in a 4-2 defeat in Stockholm.

Ibrahimovic inspired Sweden to a win in the inaugural match at the Friends Arena after England had led 2-1 at half-time through goals from Danny Welbeck and debutant Steven Caulker.

"I have mixed emotions. Obviously I am very proud for myself, getting to 100 caps and really pleased with the lads for large parts of the game," said Gerrard. "I thought we controlled the game and did not look like losing it but sometimes you have to hold your hands up to an individual special performance."

He added: "This was a world-class performance from a world-class player in Ibrahimovic. It (the fourth goal) is the best goal I have seen live. I think the best goal I have seen before that is Wayne Rooney's (against Manchester City).

"Everyone knows how special that was but this one tonight - an overhead kick from 25 yards when the ball is six feet in the air - only certain players can do that. He is a special player.

"I congratulated him after that. He said some nice things about me before the game which was really nice. If I could return the compliment I would say that was one of the best individual performances I have seen.

"He is not everyone's cup of tea but he is certainly mine."

Gerrard received rapturous applause from the home crowd in recognition of his 100 caps but is now focusing on helping England qualify for the next World Cup.

He said: "That was really touching. All the support I have had from you lads (in the media) my family, friends and people in the game has touched me.

"All eyes were on me and there was extra pressure and excitement. Now I am glad it is out of the way and I focus on getting us to the next World Cup. That is the big challenge."

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