Steven Gerrard has announced his decision to retire from international football.
The England captain amassed 114 caps for England, scoring 21 times after making his debut in a 2-0 win over Ukraine. His last appearance came off the bench in the 0-0 draw against Costa Rica at this summer’s disappointing World Cup.
Gerrard led the Three Lions to Brazil with optimism after topping Group H, but back-to-back defeats against Italy and Uruguay saw Roy Hodgson’s side crash out of the tournament after just two games. The Liverpool legend will not have a chance to right these wrongs at Euro 2016.
Part of Kevin Keegan’s squad for Euro 2000, the centre midfielder would appear four years later in Portugal and in 2008 in Ukraine and Poland. He missed the 2002 World Cup through injury, but was a regular in 2006 in Germany and 2010 in South Africa.
During those three World Cup outings, Gerrard made 12 appearances and scored three goals in the process. They came against Trinidad & Tobago, Sweden and the USA.
He also scored his first international goal in the 5-1 demolition of Germany in 2001, and captained his country 38 times. He is the third most-capped player in England history behind Peter Shilton and David Beckham.
“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,” the 34-year-old told the official FA website.
Gerrard thanked a number of people in his statement, including Hodgson and Brendan Rodgers, and he hinted that calling time on his international career could have long-term benefits for the Reds.
“To ensure I can keep playing to a high level and giving everything to Liverpool Football Club I believe this is the right decision, and having Champions League football back at Anfield is another big factor in my decision,” he added.
Having made his debut at 19 and won the England Player of the Year award twice, it’s no surprise that those at the top of the nation’s game have been quick to pay tribute to the player, with FA Chairman Greg Dyke and manager Hodgson among those wishing the player well.
“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,” said Hodgson.
"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.