Steven Gerrard says the news of Michael Shields’ release from prison after four years yesterday was what inspired him to score twice in England’s 5-1 victory over Croatia at Wembley last night.
Liverpool fan Shields was given a royal pardon after originally being sentenced for ten years in a Bulgarian prison for an attack in the build-up to the European Cup Final 2005.
Shields always protested his innocence and Gerrard says the news of the 22-year-old’s release gave him further inspiration to achieve with England last night.
“It’s fantastic news both for Michael and his family,” said the Liverpool skipper.
“I’m really pleased for all of them. It was a good day for me, scoring two goals and qualifying for the World Cup having switched on the television earlier in the day and seeing the news about Michael. It gave me a real boost.
“It’s certainly one of the most satisfying nights I’ve had playing for England. We’ve had some good nights under Sven – particularly in Germany – and I’ve scored goals in the European Championships and the World Cup finals but this was very good.”