Steven Gerrard today announced his retirement from international football with England following a glittering 14 years of representing his country.
The midfielder’s journey with the Three Lions took him to three World Cup tournaments – 2006, 2010 and, most recently, this summer – and three European Championships.
After a debut against Ukraine in 2000, a total of 114 caps were amassed in the white colours, including 38 appearances as captain, making the Huyton native the nation’s third most capped player of all time.
In recognition of the Liverpool skipper’s unflinching commitment to England, he will now continue his relationship with the Football Association through an ambassadorial role.
Explaining the decision, Gerrard said:
“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. However, I do look forward to continuing my strong relationship with The FA and helping out in any way I can going forward.
“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.
“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.
“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 Football Club, I believe this is the right decision and having Champions League football back at Anfield is another big factor in my decision.”
Hodgson, who coached Gerrard both at Anfield and at international level, paid a glowing tribute to the man that captained his England side since taking the reins in 2012:
“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. 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.”