AT the time of going to press it seemed likely that Steven Gerrard was on course to captain England in their friendly against Sweden in Stockholm and in so doing win his 100th cap.
At the same time, Everton’s Leon Osman’s long wait for full international recognition was also expected to be finally over.
Old Merseyside schoolboy football rivals, Gerrard and Osman have enjoyed top-class professional careers and also played their club football locally.
Gerrard will have joined an elite group of players – Peter Shilton, David Beckham, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton and Billy Wright – great footballers all.
I spent a lot of time with Steven on the occasions he and I would share England trips abroad when I was the CEO at the Football Association.
A thoughtful, committed footballer, he always pointed out to me how much he enjoyed playing for his country and I’ve had the pleasure of watching him score goals in two different World Cups, in Germany and South Africa.
Now established as the England captain, he is enjoying the prestige of that appointment and what goes with it – and I’m sure he is relishing the thought of leading his country to a World Cup in Brazil – his third.
He can go on and play many more games for England.
Osman’s elevation to Roy Hodgson’s squad is further indication that Everton’s impressive start to the season has caught everybody’s attention – and his role in it has been rewarded.
With Raheem Sterling also a probable debutant, the match in Sweden may well have proved a red and blue letter day for some of Anfield and Goodison’s finest.