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Gerrard applauds Chelsea on Hazard capture

SoccerNews in English Premier League, Ligue 1 1 Jun 2012

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Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has tipped Belgium star Eden Hazard to become a Premier League star in light of his proposed move to Chelsea.

The 21-year-old striker confirmed his intention to move to the Blues from Lille earlier this week after snubbing Manchester City, Manchester United and speculated interest from both Arsenal and Tottenham.

And Hazard, who will be alongside Fernando Torres, John Terry and Frank Lampard as one of Chelsea’s top earners on a reported 200,000 pounds a week, will line up against England in their final warm-up game ahead of Euro 2012.

“He’s (Hazard) well known in England,” Gerrard told reporters.

“I think Chelsea have done very well to sign a player of his calibre. He’s a world class player and I’m sure he’ll set the Premier League alight.”

Roy Hodgson’s side will fly out to their Krakow training base next week ahead of their first Group D encounter with France, but will first test their mettle against a talented Belgium side strong with Premier League players, and captain Gerrard is wary of the threat Marc Wilmots’ side pose.

“I think the Belgium team is very strong,” said Gerrard.

“They have world class players that are very young and I think their future is very bright.

“This is a very tough test for us tomorrow and we’re aware of certain players that Belgium possess such as Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen and Eden Hazard ,who is a special player as well but I think as a team we can’t just concentrate on three or four of Belgium’s players.

“We have to be aware of the whole side.”

The captain’s thoughts were also echoed by manager Hodgson, who revealed that Hazard was on his shortlist when he was in charge at Anfield.

“I also went to watch Hazard when I was coaching Liverpool as a potential signing so I know how good he is,” he said.

“Of course, this is Wembley and I’m afraid that we have to accept, whatever team is playing here, they will want to pull out all the stops to beat us to make a name for themselves.

“Having said that we are preparing for an important championship, there will be no easy games for us at Euro 2012, so maybe a preparation game which is difficult is just what we need at this moment in time.”

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