Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers expects the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to be the international swansong for Steven Gerrard.
By the time the next football season gets underway, the Reds captain will be 34 and firmly in the autumn of his football career.
Over the past couple of season we have seen Gerrard to adapt his game to the inevitability that things will feel a little slower for him, so he has been playing in a deeper role when in the past he has been played in a wider position or a more advanced position just off the front man.
There is the occasional burst into the penalty area and wonder strike that would resonate with his younger years – flashes of the younger Gerrard are still there.
But retirement from international football after the World Cup could benefit Liverpool hugely. He still makes a huge contribution to the team, wonderful passing range and vision, and can still put himself firmly into a tackle.
The demands of club football are going to get more and more punishing for his body, and the breaks to allow for more recovery time can only bring a fresh Gerrard eager to get back to business when club football returns after a period of international matches.
By preserving Gerrard’s Liverpool career, it allows for a talismanic figure to be around the dressing room, someone who has won trophies but is still hungry to win more – include the League title which he desperately craves even if he might have accepted that it may be beyond him.
There is of course the factor of younger players coming through. The more time that youngsters could have around a talismanic figure who is still playing can only benefit their development.
The effect wouldn’t just be about having a player like Steven Gerrard around the side who may still be able to dig Liverpool out of some sticky situations, but the chance for the future players at Liverpool to work closely with him.
The simple act of quitting international football could have positive ramifications as a result.
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