Dalglish: Don't rush Gerrard back for England

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LONDON (Reuters) -- Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish wants his captain Steven Gerrard to be eased back gently into the Liverpool and England teams following his first appearance for six months in their League Cup win at Brighton on Wednesday.

Midfielder Gerrard, 31, had been out of action since March when he needed surgery to fix a groin injury and his return was delayed by complications in the summer.

But Gerrard, who has played 89 times for England, finally made his comeback after 75 minutes of Liverpool's 2-1 win in the third round of the League Cup at Brighton on Wednesday, and Dalglish wants him brought back into the fray gradually.

England's next game is a Euro 2012 qualifier in Montenegro on Oct. 7 but Dalglish sent a message to England manager Fabio Capello when he spoke to the media ahead of Liverpool's Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

"I don't pick England's team. Whatever they have to do, they have to do," Dalglish said on Thursday when asked if it would be a risk for Capello to name the midfielder in his squad.

"I just hope they are as intelligent as we have been.

"He's done fantastic coming back and it's fantastic for the whole club that he is back but the most important person in all of it is Steven himself.

"He's missed an awful lot of football through injury so he's done brilliantly to get where he is. We will just continue in the intelligent manner that we have done.

"We can look forward to him getting even fitter. There will be no timescale or programme, we'll just take it as it comes.

"He's the captain and the talisman of the football club and he's just played around 20 minutes for us. But he's on his way back and we're absolutely delighted for him."

After making his brief appearance on Wednesday, Gerrard said: "I'd been out a long time and it was fantastic to be out there in that kit again and it was nice to get a win as well.

"It has been a nightmare for me. I'm not the best when I'm out injured and watching games. It has been tough and the last six months have been a roller coaster."

Defender Martin Kelly also returned for Liverpool after missing two matches with a hamstring injury but defender Glen Johnson is still recovering from a similar problem.

Central defender Daniel Agger, who fractured two ribs in Sunday's 4-0 league defeat Tottenham Hotspur, could be out for at least a month, Dalglish said.