ENGLAND'S so-called "Golden Generation" never lived up to its name.
And Steven Gerrard, one of the biggest names from that era, may have provided the real reason for why the Three Lions failed to deliver.
While speaking in Belfast at a question and answer session in 2017, Gerrard revealed he had a "hatred" for two England team-mates – despite pretending to like them.
Via Belfast Live, he said: "When you're lining up in the tunnel against Rio [Ferdinand] and Gary Neville you want to do everything in your power to beat them.
"There's hatred there, that's exactly how it is. When you meet up for England at that time, you pretend you like them."
Gerrard then explained how his relationship with the pair had blossomed in retirement.
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He added: "But your career finishes, their career finishes and your friendship starts for real.
"I've got nothing but respect for Rio as a player, played for a top club all his life, he's a good fella as well, I'm enjoying the role at BT [Sport TV] with him as well."
The trio of them collected 280 England caps, with Gerrard ranking as the Three Lions fourth-most capped player.
At the time, many of the biggest stars in the squad competed with one another for major honours, with players at Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal involved in bitter feuds.
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Ferdinand believes this to be the reason his generation failed to live up to its billing.
Speaking to SunSport back in 2018, he said: "It [club rivalry] overshadowed things. It killed that England team, that generation.
“One year we would have been fighting Liverpool to win the league, another year it would be Chelsea.
“I considered the Premier League to be my title.
"So I was never going to walk into the England dressing room or the canteen and open up to Frank [Lampard], to Ashley Cole, John, Joe Cole at Chelsea, or Steven and Jamie Carragher at Liverpool.
“I wouldn’t open up because of the fear that they would then take something back to their club and use it against us, to make them better than us.
“I didn’t want to engage with them in that sense.
"I didn’t realise what I was doing was hurting England at the time. It was only after I sat back and thought, ‘F***ing hell, this is what happened!’
"I was so engrossed with winning with Man United that nothing else mattered."
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The camaraderie in the national team has massively improved under Gareth Southgate, and has been reflected in improved performances in major tournaments.
And they will be hoping to go one better at Euro 2024, with Southgate naming his latest squad for the qualifiers yesterday.
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