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Gerrard retires from England duty

ESPN staff
July 21, 2014 « Warren: Fury will never change his ways | Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
Gerrard spoke to FATV about his decision

Steven Gerrard had announced his retirement from England duty after a 14-year international career.

The midfielder captained England on 38 occasions in his 114 appearances and is England's third most capped player of all time behind Peter Shilton (125) and David Beckham (115).

Gerrard's decision comes in the wake of England's disappointing World Cup campaign. The 34-year-old struggled for form as Roy Hodgson's side suffered disappointing 2-1 defeats in their first two games to Italy and Uruguay and finished bottom of their group in Brazil, adding to questions about Gerrard's international future.

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Joe Hart could be given the role as he has 43 caps © PA Photos

"I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country and it is a sad day for me knowing that I won't pull on the England shirt again," Gerrard said in a statement on the FA's website.

"This has been a very difficult decision, one of the toughest I've had to make in my career. I have agonised over this since coming back from Brazil and have spoken to family, friends and people close to me in the game before coming to this point.

"I'd like to firstly thank my family and friends for all their support throughout my England journey. I'd also like to thank everyone who has been part of my international career, from the England managers I've played under to the staff at the FA and, of course, all the players I've been fortunate to play alongside.

"In particular, the supporters have been amazing, not least in Brazil when they got behind the team despite the disappointing results.

"I'd especially like to thank Roy [Hodgson], firstly for giving me the captaincy permanently when he took the job, making me the proudest man in the country and allowing me to fulfil my childhood dream.

"He has been very understanding over the past few weeks and is a man I will always hold in the highest regard."

Gerrard opened England's account in South Africa in 2010, but Fabio Capello's side were pegged back by the United States and drew 1-1 © Getty Images
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Gerrard's captaincy came under fire after the defeat to Uruguay and he admitted he was "broken" in the wake of England's World Cup exit with a group game to spare, saying he wanted time to clear his head before making a decision on his international future.

With the Liverpool captain now deciding to end his time with England, Gerrard admitted his club's return to the Champions League after a five-year absence played a part in his decision as he looks to extend his Anfield career.

"To ensure I can keep playing to a high level and giving everything to Liverpool I believe this is the right decision, and having Champions League football back at Anfield is another big factor in my decision," Gerrard added.

"Brendan [Rodgers] has been fantastic and obviously I have to look after my body as much as possible to ensure I can give everything when I take to the field."

Gerrard made his debut in a 2-0 win against Ukraine at Wembley in 2000 and went on to score 21 goals for his country.

He represented England at six major tournaments, with the 0-0 group stage draw against Costa Rica at this summer's World Cup his final appearance.

England manager Roy Hodgson had said he wanted Gerrard to stay on despite the disappointing campaign in Brazil but paid tribute to his retiring captain.

"While I'm disappointed in the decision, I can entirely understand Steven's situation and can have no complaints given the incredible service he has given to his country," Hodgson said.

Gerrard scored in England's famous 5-1 win against Germany in Munich in 2001 © Getty Images
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"I must respect his wishes due to the discussions we have had and the amount of thought and consideration he himself has given it.

"He is an incredible man and a fantastic footballer who we have all been blessed to see in an England shirt so often. It is never by coincidence that people reach such a staggering figure as 114 caps, it is a mark of his wonderful talent allied to a huge drive and determination to live up to the highest standard.

"He is not only a player to bring crowds to their feet with moments of brilliance; he was a tremendous captain and an exceptional role model for everyone who was fortunate to come into contact with him. We shall miss his leadership qualities as we look ahead to the qualification campaign with a youthful group of players.

"I wish him all the best in the future, although I know I can count on his continued support and influence as a helpful presence moving forward."

Gerrard's first major international tournament was Euro 2000 when Kevin Keegan named his as part of his squad but he missed the 2002 World Cup through injury.

He did go to Euro 2004 in Portugal under Sven-Goran Eriksson but was at fault in England's opening defeat to France, with Thierry Henry latching onto his blind injury-time back-pass before being brought down by David James in the box. Zinedine Zidane stepped up from the spot to make it 2-1. England went on to lose to the host nation in the quarter-finals on penalties.

Gerrard then missed in the penalty shootout against the same opponents in the last eight at the World Cup in Germany two years later as England crashed out again, with debate raging around his ineffective partnership with Frank Lampard in central midfield.

With Eriksson leaving his post after the World Cup, his successor Steve McClaren dropped David Beckham from his first squad and handed Gerrard a new role on the right for the 4-0 friendly win against Greece in August 2006.

McClaren failed to guide England to Euro 2008, however, and was sacked as a result, though Gerrard - now playing mainly in a role off the left wing - helped his country qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa under Fabio Capello.

With John Terry stripped of the armband earlier in the year after allegations about his private life and his successor Rio Ferdinand injured on the eve of the tournament, Gerrard was appointed temporary captain by Fabio Capello. He scored just four minutes into England's opening game against the United States but a howler from Rob Green saw Capello's side draw 1-1. England eventually limped out of the tournament with a 4-1 defeat to Germany in the last 16.

Terry would ultimately regain the captaincy from Ferdinand in 2011 before England qualified for Euro 2012 but was stripped of it again by the FA with the defender due to stand trial that summer over racial abuse allegations after an incident with Anton Ferdinand, Rio's brother. Capello quit his post in the wake of the incident, with Hodgson replacing him ahead of Euro 2012.

Hodgson made Gerrard his permanent captain for Poland and Ukraine, where England's campaign ended with a penalty shootout defeat to Italy in the last eight.

As England stuttered towards qualification for the 2014 World Cup, Gerrard scored a vital second goal to ease their nerves with two minutes to go in the 2-0 win against Poland that confirmed England's place in Brazil.

Gerrard then endured a disappointing time at this summer's World Cup. His attempted headed clearance late on against Uruguay went straight through to Luis Suarez with his then-Liverpool team-mate making it 2-1 and all but sealing England's elimination from the tournament. Their exit was confirmed after Costa Rica beat Italy 1-0 a day later.

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