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Gerrard ends 14-year England career

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GERRARD-RETIREDLONDON, July 21- The Football Association has announced that Steven Gerrard has retired from England duty after 14 years of international football.

Liverpool captain Gerrard made 114 appearances for England and he skippered the country at the recent 2014 World Cup.

However, the Three Lions came bottom of Group D, failing to win a game, and the 34-year-old struggled for form, adding to questions over his future representing his nation.

Gerrard said he needed time before making a decision, confirming that Liverpool’s involvement in next season’s Champions League, on top of their domestic schedule, was a factor.

On Monday, Gerrard told the FA’s official website: “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.”

England boss Roy Hodgson said: “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.”

Gerrard made his debut in 2000 in a 2-0 win over Ukraine at Wembley and went on to play in six major tournaments, scoring 21 times over his entire career.

He captained the side 38 times and is the third most-capped England player of all time behind Peter Shilton (125) and David Beckham (115).

By Soccernet.com

Five facts on Stevie G

The England captain, 34, is number three on the country’s most capped players behind Peter Shilton and David Beckham. He has played 114 times for England since 2000 and after being briefly captain in 2008 became full time team leader in 2010. He’s captained England 38 times, winning 20 of those games.

— Gerrard scored the first of his 21 England goals in a famous 5-1 win over Germany in a World Cup qualifier in September 2001.

— With his tireless running and vision, Gerrard is considered one of the best midfielders to be produced by England. He has spent all of his club career at Liverpool, making 669 league, FA Cup, League Cup and European competition appearances for the side and scoring 173 goals.

— Gerrard has a cousin, Anthony Gerrard, who plays for Huddersfield Town in the English league. Another cousin, Jon-Paul Gilhooley, was killed in the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster at the age of 10. Gerrard’s 2006 autobiography ends with the words “I play for Jon-Paul.

— In a real life drama, Gerrard appeared in court in 2009 accused of affray after a fight outside a bar. He pleaded not guilty and was cleared. On the screen, he appeared in a 2011 movie, “Will”, about an 11-year-old boy and a Bosnian footballer who trek to Istanbul to see Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final.

-By AFP

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