GERRARD QUITS ENGLAND
England captain Steven Gerrard has announced his retirement from international football in order to focus on his Liverpool career.
Gerrard was part England’s squad that crashed out in the group stages of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and has now brought his international career to a definitive end.
The 34-year-old, whose form for Liverpool has been questioned this season, believes his time will be best spent solely with the Reds and that England’s youth would benefit from his vacancy in the squad.
”It hasn’t been an easy bunch of months for me to handle and I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t been at my best recently”,
declared Liverpool’s number eight.
”I’m on the final turn of my career and to complete it positively I feel I need to hold onto a single duty as opposed to two, therefore I have chosen to retire from international football.
“It has been a pleasure to represent my country and I’ve always given my absolute all on the pitch for those who love and support me.
“This is the right moment for me to come away from it all now and perhaps prolong my footballing career by one or two more years at Liverpool.
“We also have many bright, young players floating around the national team, like Ross Barkley and Jack Wilshere, so I feel that they are at the stage now where they must take up the opportunity to grab international experience and hopefully lead us to glory. I didn’t want to disrupt that.”
Gerrard concludes an England career that saw him pick up 114 caps for England and score a total of 21 goals.
In a spell that stretched to 14 years with the Three Lions’ crest on his chest at senior level, Gerrard made his debut against Ukraine in 2000.
The Huyton-born midfielder made a full impact in England colours in September 2001, when his goal against Germany initiated England’s 5-1 demolition en route to the 2002 World Cup in South Korea & Japan.
Gerrard missed out on the opportunity to play for England in the 2002 World Cup through injury, but was there to score versus Trinidad & Tobago in 2006, before missing from the spot in the penalty shoot-out versus Portugal.
The Englishman also scored in the 2010 World Cup versus the United States, John Terry’s final World Cup as captain, as Gerrard led Roy Hodgson’s men to Brazil in 2014.
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is the odds-on favourite to succeed his Merseyside pal, with Joe Hart and Gary Cahill also thought to be in the running for England captaincy.