England captain Steven Gerrard has retired from international football. The news was confirmed in a statement posted on the FA’s website shortly after 3pm. The announcement comes after a 14-year run that has seen him earn an incredible 114 caps for his country, making him the third most-capped player in England’s history.
Gerrard makes the decision to quit his England duties after a terrible World Cup run that saw his team fail to register a single win in Brazil and finish bottom of their group, with his last game being a dull 0-0 draw against Costa Rica.
The Liverpool midfielder, 34, made his debut back on 30th May 2000 in a 2-0 win against Ukraine at Wembley and has played an integral part in the team ever since with his consistently good performances which meant his place in the starting line up was very rarely questioned.
Almost a third of his caps were as captain and he will be remembered as a player who carried immense pride when representing his country with his determined personality, making him a favourite with fans and fellow players.
Speaking to the FA, Gerrard said: “I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country and it is a sad day for me knowing that I won’t pull on the England shirt again…This has been a very difficult decision, one of the toughest I’ve had to make in my career. I have agonised over this since coming back from Brazil and have spoken to family, friends and people close to me in the game before coming to this point.”
The sole Liverpool focus
During his time as an England player, he scored 21 goals, played in six major tournaments and has maintained a fantastic disciplinary record, earning only 14 yellow cards and just one red which came in 2012 against the team he made his international debut against, which will make him a big miss.
Contemplating on his captain’s decision, England manager Roy Hodgson told the FA: “While I’m disappointed in the decision, I can entirely understand Steven’s situation and can have no complaints given the incredible service he has given to his country… I must respect his wishes due to the discussions we have had and the amount of thought and consideration he himself has given it.”
This has come at the right time for England, as they are still in a process of reflecting on their failures in Brazil but it does leave them with a headache, replacing such a well respected player and captain will not be an easy task it will have to be done with a lot of consideration and thought as to who can bring them out of the dark cloud they’re currently in and help increase their current FIFA ranking of 20, their lowest for 18 years.
Steven Gerrard will now focus on his role as captain of Liverpool FC, the club whom he made his debut with back in 1998 aged just 18, as they start their pre-season fixtures before the Premier League season starts in August.
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