Brendan Rodgers has suggested that Steven Gerrard will quit his England duties following the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Gerrard has given his all to England since making his debut in 2000 under Kevin Keegan. To date, the Liverpool captain has picked up 107 England caps making him fourth on the all-time list behind Bobby Moore (108), David Beckham (115) and Peter Shilton (125).
Gerrard could break Beckham’s record but it will take some doing to overcome Shilton.
The Liverpool manager believes that Gerrard may not be able to go on following the Brazil tournament. Rodgers said, ‘If you go to a World Cup in Brazil at 34 years of age you might not have many more championships left in you. Very few players do. I can think of (Javier) Zanetti and (Paolo) Maldini who have played on late but it’s rare.
‘Steven is a real talisman for the group. He is a real leader for the team and everyone there. Whether he plays in the two friendlies or not is another matter. There are absolutely times when you can rest him and I think that is important for him.
‘But, for Steven, he probably looks at it as though this is his last international year and after the World Cup that will be all finished and he will have time to rest. He and Roy have a good relationship and I’m sure if he needs a breather in these two games he will get it.’
There is no doubt Gerrard has served his time for England and the curtain must come down at some point. There would be no better way for Gerrard to bow out than to lead England to victory in Brazil. But as Rodgers points out, the final decision will be made by Gerrard himself.
‘It will be Steven’s decision,’ Rodgers added. ‘But I’m sure in these years now he’ll want to maximise every cap, every performance and every minute on the pitch he can, and that’s what he’s trying to do.’
In order to prolong his Liverpool career, Gerrard needs to step back from his England duties. Just look at the upcoming friendlies against Chile and Germany; Gerrard does not need to be playing in those games but he will most likely do so as he is the England captain. At his age, he needs to be resting a bit more and these international friendlies do not help.
Gerrard is no longer the action packed midfielder he was when he started playing and I think he and Liverpool have come to accept that and thus he needs to change his game. He still has a vast range of qualities in his game that do not require pace and physique and those are the qualities he has to focus on now. We have seen the likes of Scholes and Pirlo continue to run midfields way passed the time they were thought to be ‘finished players’. Gerrard can certainly do the same, if not better.