Steven Gerrard said he “agonised” over the decision to retire from international football following England’s dire World Cup campaign but had to be selfish and quit to preserve his career with Liverpool.
The 34-year-old announced on Monday that he was calling time on an England career of 14 years and 114 caps, the third-highest total in the country’s history.
Wayne Rooney, given a cool reception by some England supporters during the team’s final World Cup game against Costa Rica, is among the frontrunners to succeed Gerrard, with Roy Hodgson short of established options for the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
Gerrard’s retirement was widely anticipated after England were consigned in Brazil this summer to their quickest World Cup exit, although the Liverpool captain says he discussed the decision in depth with Hodgson only recently.
Liverpool’s return to the Champions League, the midfielder admitted, was a contributing factor in ending his England career.
“This has been a very difficult decision, one of the toughest I’ve had to make in my career,” said Gerrard, third behind Peter Shilton and David Beckham in England’s all-time appearance list.
“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.
“Most importantly 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.
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.” See more…