"[Steven Gerrard] was a great, great player for Liverpool and England," commented the player's former national manager Sven Goran Eriksson who believes that the influential midfielder's retirement from Roy Hodgson's Three Lions team is a great shame as he arguably could have "carried on".
“I feel sorry for England and for Steven. I think he should have carried on because as long as you can qualify to play for England I think you should do it," he said on Sky Sports News.
Liverpool are back in Champions League competition thanks to their runners-up status in the Premier League last season. Brendan Rodgers' Reds, therefore, will be campaigning on four fronts and Gerrard may be saving his body for club-level.
Eriksson hints that the player may not be able to cope with an increase in game-time.
“Maybe his body is a little bit tired. Maybe he can’t do twice a week all year round. I don’t know. He is probably saying he can’t do it anymore."
However, he added: “I think everyone has to say a big, big thank you to Steven for all he did for his country. He has a great attitude, is a great professional and is a fantastic footballer. He always delivered and you could always be sure he gives everything he has to give.”
Eriksson, who gave Wayne Rooney his international debut, believes the Manchester United attacker could be the ideal replacement as captain and claims Hodgson could rebuild the team around the tireless forward.
"Wayne Rooney is a good choice, and they should build the team around him. I think Rooney is still really important for England.
“It is a question for Roy really. I have been away from that job a long time!"