Gerrard injury blow

Rafa Benitez has thrown doubt over Steven Gerrard's participation in England's crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers next month.

Rafa Benitez has thrown doubt over Steven Gerrard's participation in England's crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers next month.

Gerrard has a broken toe and has been forced to rest for the past week, missing England's friendly with Germany and Liverpool's win at Sunderland.

The Reds skipper also sat out yesterday's second leg Uefa Champions League qualifier with Toulous and is a big doubt for Saturday's Premier League match with Derby.

With England due to link up next week, Benitez says he will tell Gerrard when he is ready to play.

"He wants to play every game. That's when my decision becomes important," Benitez insisted.

"I'd say I am optimistic but we will see. I need to talk to the doctor as well as the player to see if he really is fit or if there would be a risk. At the end of the day, it is a broken bone.

"Stevie can train and run but obviously he is not playing with the rest of the team or touching the ball."

England face Israel and Russia next month, two games which will go a long way to deciding their Euro 2008 fate. - Skysports

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