As England and manager Roy Hodgson prepare this week for the World Cup in Brazil next year, a number of the Three Lions’ stars will be preparing to play their last tournament for their country.
1) Steven Gerrard
The England captain is now 33 years of age and will be 36 by the next European Championships and 38 by the next World Cup in 2018. Gerrard has so far earned 107 caps for England and scored 21 goals but he’ll be looking to lead England to glory in Brazil, as it will almost certainly be his last chance. He made his senior debut in 2000 as 20-year-old and has been one of the finest midfielders of his generation, not just in England but in the world.
2) Ashley Cole
The Chelsea veteran made his senior debut for England in 2001 whilst still at Arsenal and has since made 105 appearances for his country at left-back. Cole has never scored a goal for the Three Lions but he’s been to three World Cups and three European Championships.
3) Frank Lampard
Another Chelsea hero and another great midfielder of his generation, Super Frank made his debut before Gerrard in 1999 at just 21 years old but the now 35-year-old Blues man will certainly not make another tournament for England. He has been simply superb for both Chelsea and England for whom he’s earned 103 caps and scored 29 international goals.
4) Phil Jagielka
The Everton defender made his senior debut late, in 2008, at the age of 26 and has made 23 appearances for England and scored one goal. He’s only 31 and could likely make the European Championships in 2016 but with the emergence of youngsters coming through the ranks, I would expect he’ll not be involved in the World Cup in 2018 by which point he’ll be turning 36.
5) Jermain Defoe
The Tottenham striker has had a habit at showing up in the squad and in the box at just the right time for England. In 55 appearances, many as a substitute, Defoe has scored 19 goals at international level. Just turned 31, he’ll have the same obstacles as Jagielka – with the emergence of youngsters like Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge, it seems unlikely Defoe will make it beyond next year’s World Cup.