It is no secret that Steven Gerrard is now 34 and is perhaps coming towards the end of what has been an illustrious and successful playing career (well for Liverpool anyway) and having made a statement saying"there is no truth I'll be making any announcement on my England future in the next week. I need more time than that, " let's look at the pros and cons of the Liverpool ace calling time on his involvement in the international fold.
We'll start with the pros. Firstly, to the delight of many a Liverpool fan, this would likely prolong his club career, as it would mean he would be playing less games per season and with the added games to come in the UEFA Champions League for Liverpool next season this could prove to be a very important decision for both him and the team.
As well as this given Luis Suarez's lengthy ban for (yet again) biting an opposing player, Gerrard's presence and ability will yet again be needed to drive Liverpool forward and if he was playing in international games as well as those for his club, then perhaps Gerrard not be the player that Liverpool need him to be.
Furthermore, it is widely documented that Gerrard is part of the 'Golden Generation' of English footballers that only succeeded in being underwhelming at major tournaments. As such Gerrard's retirement would create space for the younger talent that the England fans have seen glimpses of during the warm up games and in the group stages of this World Cup.
Now given that Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Raheem Sterling have already earned a call up alongside Gerrard this would mean space in the squad for players such as Jonjo Shelvey, James Ward-Prowse or Nathaniel Chalobah to name just a few of the talents currently showcasing themselves in the Barclays Premier League and the England under 21's. This can only mean good things for the national team as these youngsters will gain international match experience and as such could go on to bring the success that every England fan hopes for at the start of each international tournament.
However, despite these positive aspects, Gerrard's absence will be noticed in the international set up. For starters, I believe that Gerrard would be one of the key figures in teaching the younger talent how to both play and conduct themselves in international games, be they friendlies or major tournaments.
To further add to this if, as predicted, both Lampard and Gerrard do choose to retire from international football, then who would Roy Hodgson choose to be the next England captain? Alan Shearer has advocated Wayne Rooney to be next England captain, however given his lack of impressive displays during the current World Cup, I would argue that, not only is he not suited for the role, but perhaps he should be dropped altogether - but that is separate issue for another article.
So if not Rooney then who? Given Jagielka's age and experience he is a possibility and given that he captained Everton to a European place in the Premier League last season then he would seem ideal. However, given that England failed to keep a clean sheet in the World Cup in each of the games he played, perhaps his place in the team is under question too and as such would not be an appropriate choice of captain.
In conclusion, I am at somewhat of a crossroads. Being a Liverpool fan, I wish for Gerrard to play for the club for as long as possible, which can perhaps only be done by retiring from international football in the coming weeks. However his experience will be vital in developing England's next 'Golden Generation' and as an England football fan this would also be of great delight to me. As such, I'll let you make your own minds up, I'm sure you'll come to a conclusion, one way or the other.
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