When interim manager Stuart Pearce made Scott Parker temporary England captain ahead of Gerrard for the friendly with Holland earlier this year fans were split.
Gerrard was the better player, more experienced and more successful and Liverpool supporters were outraged.
However Tottenham fans hit back in favour of Parker arguing against Gerrard's recent injury record, and more poignantly that he has not produced his best club form for England.
They were right to look back on Gerrard's captaincy at World Cup 2010 as a disappointment. But there wasn't a single aspect of that tournament or single player associated with England to come out of it with any credit whatsoever.
Now handed back the captaincy by permanent manager and former club boss Roy Hodgson, Steven Gerrard is putting in his best performances in an England shirt for many a year at the age of 32.
He has laid on assists in all three of England's games, setting up goals for Joleon Lescott, Andy Carroll and Wayne Rooney - all headers.
He is proving he can flourish in a deep lying midfield role, in contrast to the common held assertion that his best football comes when he is played further forward. A lack of options have led England to play him there, and he is making the best of it and more.
With Ashley Young experiencing a mixed tournament so far, below par from the high standards expected from him, and James Milner roundly criticised, both will have to step up.
Theo Walcott was impressive in his cameo against Sweden, a matchwinner, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been a bright spark, so England have options in the two Arsenal men, but Hodgson's safety first approach is likely to see him go with Young and Milner against the Italians.
If so both will have to step up to decrease the burden on Gerrard. The tactically aware Italians will try everything they can to prevent him from supplying England's forwards, although denying him at set pieces will be a different challenge especially without injured centre-back Chiellini.
Gerrard will find his time and space in open play limited - Italy will have a plan on how to handle him, they may be able to execute it, or Gerrard may make them fail miserably. Either way, just in case, the Liverpool captain needs his teammates to share the creative burden, and if they don't then Hodgson will have to use his substitutes to change the game.
Who should England start tonight? Who will step up to help Gerrard create the goals?
image: © geetarchurchy