Football

Steven Gerrard has not earned legendary status with England

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Steven Gerrard is England's third most capped player, but despite the protestations of TV pundits he has done little to secure legendary status at international level.

The Liverpool captain has appeared 113 times for his country - and if he rebuffs calls for his retirement then he could break the national record - but after playing a crucial role in the Three Lions' World Cup slump, it's hard to think that he will be remembered too fondly on Wembley Way.

Gerrard made his England debut in 2000 against Ukraine - the day after his 20th birthday - and scored his first goal in a memorable 5-1 win away to Germany a year later. At the time, few would have predicted that this would prove to be the highlight of his international career.

Indeed, the 34-year-old has enjoyed immense success at club level, but after missing the 2002 World Cup with injury he has been a key component in a side that his consistently underachieved at major tournaments and even failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

He has led the team in the past three competitions that have seen embarrassing losses, costly errors and unattractive football, neatly summarised by the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Uruguay on Thursday.

The Three Lions never reached the same levels that they had in an impressive yet mistake-laded reverse to Italy, and both goals stemmed from Gerrard errors. First, he timidly lost the ball in midfield, before heading beyond his own defence - club teammate Luis Suarez profiting on each occasion.

There is no doubt that he has been a fine player over many years, but there is a definite feeling that the Merseysider's best performances have come for the Reds and that he has failed to perform when his country has needed him most.

Even before the consecutive losses at this summer's tournament, discussions about Gerrard's role as an "England legend" seemed premature at best. He may have notched up a significant number of caps, but his role has mainly consisted of being the main man in a side that has achieved very little.

In 50 years, young English fans will surely see the midfielder as just a name on a page, rather than as a national hero spoken of in the same revered tones as Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore, Gordon Banks and Gary Lineker.

Even Paul Gascoigne and David Beckham produced individual moments that will set them apart from the rest, while the likes of Alan Shearer and Ashley Cole can at least claim to have been among the best in the world in their positions over a significant period of time.

Gerrard will no doubt be desperate to prove that he belongs alongside those icons, but unfortunately he's run out of time.

If he remains England captain beyond the end of this World Cup, he will only be holding back a vibrant youthful team that have the chance to do what he never did, and find success on the world stage.

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Topics:
World Cup
Liverpool
Football
England Football
Steven Gerrard

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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