England captain Steven Gerrard has hinted that he could retire from international football after the World Cup.
The Liverpool midfielder has been playing for the Three Lions since 2000 and has made 109 appearances for his country. The 33-year-old is six matches short of equalling David Beckham’s record, and if he plays in all the friendly games and the group stage fixtures in Brazil, then he will have equalled it.
Gerrard has been a royal servant for England and has been an example for all players. However, given that he is 33, the tournament in Brazil is likely to be his final for his country.
The midfielder does not have the legs to play the usual box-to-box role he did in years gone by, and was reinvented in a more constrained role by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in 2013-14.
Although the 2005 Champions League winner has yet to decide if he will retire from international duty after the World Cup, he has given a strong hint that he will call it a day.
‘I'm not going to leave anyone hanging’, Sky Sports News quotes him as saying. ‘Don't worry, as soon as the World Cup is over I'll sit down with the manager at the right time and I'll make the decision... It will be very close after the World Cup I'll make that decision’.
Gerrard has been an evergreen player, but even he needs to be pragmatic about his physical state with the passage of time. Liverpool fans will probably be pleased if he retires from England duty after the World Cup. That way, the 33-year-old will be able to concentrate more on his club career.
The Reds are set to make themselves a superpower in England again (and probably in Europe), and Gerrard will be a key part of that rebuilding process. He has done all he could for England; perhaps it is now time for him to devote all his energy and time only to Liverpool.