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Taylor: England unfortunate

Former England boss Graham Taylor insists the national side are unlucky to have been eliminated from the World Cup, saying their performances against Italy and Uruguay deserved more than a couple of 2-1 defeats.

And Taylor, who managed England between 1990 and 1993, told World Cup Verdict on Sky Sports News that the only person who can decide if Steven Gerrard should retire from the international game is the Liverpool midfielder himself.

Asked about the opening two fixtures in Group D, Taylor said: \"In both games England put in a performance that, on any other day, would have got them a result - at least a draw.

\"And I think they have been unfortunate. That happens in football, be it the World Cup or League Two.

\"I don't think England played as badly as some people are now making out.\"

As for Gerrard's international future, Taylor added: \"A lot will depend on Steven himself and his club manager Brendan Rodgers because when internationals are played and you're not involved you've got a fortnight's rest.

\"Steven's a very honest lad and he will do not only what's right for him but also what's right for club and country.\"

And whether Gerrard, now 34, should modify his role within Liverpool and possibly England, Taylor went on: \"In terms of what he has done for his club - playing that deeper role - I think he and Brendan probably believe that could lengthen his career.

\"But whether Steven continues to play for England, then that's up to Steven himself.

\"And if Steven does decide to stay on at international level, then I think his position on the pitch will have to change slightly and become a holding midfield player.\"

A number of journalists and fans have complained that England boss Roy Hodgson should have selected Chelsea duo John Terry and Ashley Cole for the World Cup, and that their experience would have benefited the team against Italy and Uruguay.

But Taylor said: \"As I understand it, John Terry turned down the chance of playing for England again - he said it was over.

\"From Ashley Cole's point of view he was probably the best left-back in the world at one point - but not now.

\"Yet when the squad was announced I heard nobody grumbling about Cole being left out but now we have lost, the questions come now.\"

As for England's final game against Costa Rica on Tuesday, Taylor believes those who have not featured so far should be given an opportunity.

He says: \"It's a great opportunity to play a match that does matter. It's not a friendly fixture, they will not want to come home with three defeats.

\"The players will be low but those who haven't played should be given a chance and let's see how they handle the situation.\"

Watch England's press conference with Roy Hodgson and Steven Gerrard live on Sky Sports News from 5pm