Gerrard retires from England duty
England captain Steven Gerrard has announced his international retirement after making 114 appearances in a career spanning 14 years.
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The 34-year-old, who led the national side in this summer's World Cup which saw them exit the tournament after just two matches, said he had "agonised" over the decision since returning from Brazil.
"This has been a very difficult decision, one of the toughest I've had to make in my career," he told FATV.
"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, his manager at Liverpool) 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."
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).
"I'd like to firstly thank my family and friends for all their support throughout my England journey," added Gerrard.
"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."
Hodgson was faced with a rebuilding job after England failed to win a single match in Brazil but admits he will be sad to see Gerrard, whom he managed briefly during a short stint at Anfield, go.
"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 the national team boss.
"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."
Roy Hodgson on Steven Gerrard
"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."
Gerrard says he is willing to advise Hodgson on who should replace him as captain.
"I'm here for advice on the next England captain," Gerrard added.
"I'm sure Roy will give it to the right person and I hope they show it the same respect that I have."
Gerrard is sure England are set for a bright future under Hodgson despite their poor showing in Brazil.
"I'm sure Roy will help making the England supporters proud again," Gerrard said.
"He's a fantastic manager and I'm glad The FA have stuck with him."
Gerrard, who has been given an ambassadorial role with the FA, has started taking his coaching badges, but he is unsure whether he wants to go into coaching or management when he hangs his boots up for good.
Gary Neville made the transition from player to England coach a year after he retired from the game and there could be scope for Gerrard to do the same.
"My relationship with The FA will continue moving forward and I'm sure over the next 20, 30, 40 years, I will work for England again," he added.
FA chairman Greg Dyke paid tribute to the midfielder, whom he described as an "England great".
"It is sad news but also gives us the opportunity to celebrate a wonderful career; Steven gave everything for England and he will be missed," he said.
"I saw at first hand his close relationship with Roy, and as a captain he could not have done more for the cause.
"He played at the highest level over such a long period of time and earned 114 caps, making him the third most-capped player for England, and also featured in six major tournaments - his longevity and determination will see him remembered by everyone as an England great."
Steven Gerrard factfile
1980: Born May 30, in Huyton.
1988: Joins Liverpool academy.
1998: November - Makes senior Liverpool debut as substitute against Blackburn.
1999: September - One of three players sent off in bad-tempered Merseyside derby as Everton win 1-0 at Anfield.
December - Scores first Liverpool goal in 4-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday.
2000: May - Included in Euro 2000 squad after making England debut in 2-0 friendly win against Ukraine at Wembley. Makes one substitute appearance against Germany.
2001: September - Puts England ahead against Germany after they had fallen behind. They go on to win 5-1 in Munich.
October - Named for England's World Cup qualifier against Greece, but spotted drinking 11 hours before due to meet up with the rest of the England squad. Apologises to manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.
2002: May - Ruled out of World Cup because of groin injury.
2003: September - Appointed Liverpool captain.
2004: March - Named England captain for friendly in Sweden in the absence of David Beckham and Michael Owen.
2005: May - Lifts Champions League trophy, scoring the first goal as Rafael Benitez's team fight back from 3-0 down to win on penalties against AC Milan in Istanbul.
2006: April - Named PFA player of the year.
May - Nets twice as Liverpool win FA Cup with defeat of West Ham.
June - Scores England's second goal in 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in World Cup group stage. On the scoresheet again in final group game, a 2-2 draw with Sweden, but England lose quarter-final to Portugal on penalties.
August - Named England vice-captain to John Terry by new manager Steve McClaren.
2008: October - Scores his 100th goal for Liverpool against PSV Eindhoven.
December - Arrested after incident in a Southport nightclub, hours after Liverpool go top of Premier League with two goals in a 5-1 win at Newcastle. Gerrard later pleaded not guilty to affray.
2009: March - Makes his 100th European appearance for Liverpool in 4-0 win over Real Madrid, scoring twice.
May - Voted the Football Writers' Player of the Year.
July - Cleared of affray in relation to December 2008 incident.
September - Scores twice in a 5-1 win for England over Croatia which books their passage to the 2010 World Cup.
December - Makes 500th Liverpool appearance against Blackburn.
2010: June - Promoted from vice-captain to captain England's World Cup squad as Rio Ferdinand is ruled out through injury. Scores England's opening goal of World Cup against the United States in 1-1 draw, but England are eliminated at the last 16 stage following a 4-1 defeat to Germany.
November - Comes off the bench to score a second-half hat-trick in a 3-1 Europa League win against Napoli.
November - Tears hamstring in England's friendly against France and is ruled out until Boxing Day.
2011: March - Undergoes operation on recurring groin problem.
July - Ruled out of the start of the new season after suffering an infection related to his groin problem.
October - Scores on his return in 1-1 draw against Manchester United.
2012: February - Liverpool defeat Cardiff on penalties in Carling Cup final at Wembley.
March - Hits hat-trick for Liverpool in 3-0 Merseyside derby win over Everton.
June - Named official England captain by Roy Hodgson and leads team in Euro 2012. Named in UEFA team of the tournament.
August - celebrates 250th game as Liverpool captain.
November 14 - Wins 100th England cap in 4-2 friendly defeat to Sweden.
2013: July 15 - Signs contract extension with Liverpool.
October 15 - Scores the second goal as England defeat Poland 2-0 and qualify for 2014 World Cup.
2014: April 6 - Scores twice as Liverpool beat West Ham 2-1 to move top of the Premier League.
April 27 - Liverpool lose 2-0 to Chelsea after a Gerrard slip that effectively ends their Premier League challenge.
June 19 - At fault for Luis Suarez's second goal that gives Uruguay a 2-1 victory and knocks England out of the World Cup.
June 24 - Plays in his 114th and final international match, as a 73rd-minute substitute in a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica.
July 21 - Announces his retirement from international football.