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Steven Gerrard hails troops' 'moving' World Cup message

England captain Steven Gerrard hailed as "very moving" a good luck message for the World Cup campaign from British troops in Afghanistan.

Servicemen and women in the war-torn country put together a DVD featuring a series of tributes to the team, including one soldier saying: "Just like you, we have to hit the target under pressure."

After watching the footage as his team-mates prepared to take on the USA in Rustenburg, Gerrard said: "It made me realise how lucky I am to be here leading the team out in the World Cup."

The Liverpool midfielder added: "They were a mixture of ages, all passionate guys wearing all kinds of different shirts basically taking a couple of seconds each to wish us all the best. It was very moving and touching.

"It puts everything into perspective and drives you when you realise what kind of support we have and it finally hit home that the matches are round the corner and the support back home is massive."

Sir David Richards of the Football Association hand-delivered the video to the team in South Africa.

It shows troops at Camp Bastion passing on their best wishes to the team, pausing as they maintain essential vehicles to wish the players well - and also enjoying a kick around during their "down time".

One member of the Armed Forces says: "Just like you, we have to hit the target under pressure." Other messages include: "Good luck, and bring it home for us", and "Get to the final for us".

Among those sending good wishes are navy personnel from the Sea King 4 helicopter detachment of 846 Naval Air Squadron, soldiers from 664 Squadron, 4 Regiment Army Air Corps, plus RAF personnel.

The England team have built up a close bond with the Armed Forces and the recent friendly against Mexico was dubbed the "Tickets for Troops" international, giving servicemen the chance to watch the Three Lions in action. Former England captain David Beckham also made a recent visit to Afghanistan, which was credited with boosting troop morale.


From Belfast Telegraph