Steven Gerrard has spoken for the first time about his international plans post-Brazil 2014, admitting he will seriously consider his England future after the World Cup.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers first raised the topic at the start of November, revealing his belief that the days were ticking down on Gerrard’s international career, per Andy Hunter of the Guardian.
Speaking after England's 1-0 loss to Germany, Gerrard has now confirmed his club boss’ prediction, telling BBC Radio Five Live via Mike Whalley of ESPN FC:
I think the appetite and desire to go on will still be there; of course it will be. I want to play football for as long as I can.
But I think it’s going to be a case of going to Brazil, giving it my best and then, when the tournament’s over, I’ll chat to the right people, and then I’ll make the decision -- because I don't think it’s one you can make overnight.
Based on Gerrard’s form across the World Cup qualifying campaign, the Liverpool man would be a huge loss to his country.
He has arguably been England’s most consistent performer, setting the standard as captain from the heart of the midfield. Roy Hodgson acknowledged his performance after the Three Lions booked their ticket to Brazil, per James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo:
I talk a lot and I don’t often say things that are particularly memorable, but every time he opens his mouth he says something that I often think ‘I wish I would have said that!’
The other great quality is that he leads by example. When I got the job and I told him I would like him to be captain, he said he would take it seriously, do his best and help wherever he could.
Gerrard made his 108th England appearance on Tuesday, but he did so against a backdrop of fitness concerns—having taken pain-killing injections in order to feature—per John Cross of the Daily Mirror.
At 33 years of age, the inspirational midfielder remains an integral figure for Liverpool and England, which inevitably takes a toll on his body.
Gerrard would be 36 by the time the next tournament, Euro 2016, arrives. There is a significant chance his game will be in decline by the time that competition looms on the horizon.
The likes of Andrea Pirlo, currently 34, have shown it is possible to dominate international matches in the twilight of a player’s career—as he did to England at Euro 2012. However, Pirlo does not play in the same lung-busting style that has earmarked the majority of Gerrard’s career.
Gerrard has spent over a decade dragging Liverpool to various successes, bursting from midfield, throwing himself into tackles and straining every sinew from his body. In vehicle terms, Pirlo has glided around an F1 track in cruise control while Gerrard has been through several Destruction Derbies.
Liverpool will hope Brazil is the final chapter. By curtailing his England career, Gerrard would undoubtedly be able to extend his playing days at Anfield.
All hail Steven Gerrard, who wins his 108th England cap tonight, matching Bobby Moore's total pic.twitter.com/Wzist3ylQO— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) November 19, 2013
Ryan Giggs quit Wales duty seven years ago and is still playing for Manchester United at the age of 39. Rodgers would love to have the same option with Gerrard.
The England skipper’s potential retirement would also allow Hodgson to introduce the next generation, a glimpse of which was given against Germany at Wembley, where Adam Lallana, Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson and Ross Barkley were all given the chance to impress.
All four, however, will be unlikely to match Gerrard’s career achievements.