The 34 year old, who led the national side to this summer’s FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil, which saw them exit the tournament after just 2 matches, said he had ‘agonised’ over the decision since returning from Brazil.
At his best a midfield marauder who inspired team mates and scored goals in equal measure, Steven Gerrard retired from England duty as the country’s third most capped player after an international career that promised more than it delivered.
Steven Gerrard has made 114 international appearances, yet he had a disappointing goal tally of only 21 goals. Despite his relatively low goal scoring ratio, many of his admirers will hope that his well struck opening goal in England’s 5-1 victory against Germany in Munich in the qualifiers for the 2002 World Cup finals lasts longer in the collective memory than the misplaced header that led to Luis Suarez’s second goal in Uruguay’s 2-1 win over England at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
That mistake, however, may have been the decisive factor in Gerrard’s decision to end his international career at the age of 34. No longer the explosive force of his youth, he had become a pedestrian midfield play maker who struggled for the pace and space needed to exploit the range of his right foot passing or shooting. As one of a group of promising players dubbed ‘the golden generation’ by the British media, much as expected from him.
Gerrard could play anywhere on the right side of the pitch from full back to forward, his right foot shooting and passing always catching the eye more than his positional sense, though that improved sufficiently for him to become a deep lying holding player in his thirties.
Having established himself as a midfield powerhouse for Liverpool, his only club, he was given his England debut one day after his 20th birthday when another former Liverpool icon Kevin Keegan, selected him to face Ukraine on 31 May 2000.
On retiring from international football, Gerrard said, “This has been a very difficult decision, one of the toughest I’ve had to make in my career. I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country and it is a sad day fro me knowing that I won’t pull on the England shirt again. However, I do look forward to continuing my strong relationship with the FA and helping out in any way I can going forward. I’d like to firstly thank my family and friends for all their support throughout my England journey.”
“I’d also like to thank everyone who has been part of my international career, from the England managers I’ve played under to the staff at the FA and, of course, all the players I’ve been fortunate to play alongside. In particular, the supporters have been amazing, not least in Brazil hen they got behind the team despite the disappointing results. I’d like to thank Roy, firstly for giving me the captaincy permanently when he took the job, making me the proudest man in the country and allowing me to fulfil my childhood dream.”
Steven Gerrard’s retirement sparks debate over who will take on the armband in his absence. While Frank Lampard would be one choice, the midfielder looks set to call it a day for the international team as well, given the fact that he has struggled to feature in the starting XI line up recently, and is expected to complete a move to MLS side New York City FC in the coming days,
That would leave Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney as the next best choice, with the striker closing in on his 100 caps despite being only 28 years old. With Rooney currently the favourite, Manchester City goal keeper Joe Hart is also an option open to Roy Hodgson, given the Manchester City star is a regular starter for his country. Gary Cahill and Jack Wilshere are also in the running.
Steven Gerrard Announces International Retirement
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