England manager Roy Hodgson has revealed his desire for skipper Steven Gerrard to continue leading the side beyond next month’s FIFA World Cup, but admits that the 33-year-old may retire from the international scene after the tournament.
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Hodgson recently announced his 23-man squad for Brazil and preparations for the June 14 kick-off against Italy are now in full swing. However, Hodgson still has one eye on the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, and he has voiced his belief that Gerrard is still the man to lead the Three Lions to success.
However, according to the Daily Mail’s Rob Shepherd, Gerrard is ready to call time on his international career in order to focus on extending his time with his beloved Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce that he's hoping to extend Gerrard's current contract, which will likely keep him at Anfield until 2016.
Nevertheless, Hodgson was quick to leave the door open for Gerrard—should the skipper wish to continue representing the national side. The 66-year-old coach also backed the midfielder to bounce back from recent disappointments with Liverpool.
As per the Guardian’s James Riach, Hodgson stated:
I did at one stage broach the [captaincy] subject with him and he knows I would like him to go on beyond this World Cup because he's still such a good player with Liverpool and in great form, and it would be a disappointment for me if he decides: 'No, that's enough for me internationally.'
It's not the right time to talk about it, he knows what I think, but I will be choosing the right moment to bring it up...
Up until now he's had his boots more than full with trying to win a title. He's had to swallow the disappointment of the last few weeks when he was close and had it taken away, and now he's got the World Cup.
He's very strong mentally. He cares desperately about Liverpool, but, fortunately for me, he cares equally desperately about England. So his mindset when it comes to England will be spot on.
Gerrard, who has already skippered the side in two major tournaments, boasts 21 goals in 109 senior England appearances. He is the country’s third most capped player and one of the Three Lions' greatest ever servants.
The England captain will be supported by fellow centurion, Frank Lampard—who was officially named vice-captain for the tournament, as was revealed by The FA’s official website. There had been doubts on whether the 35-year-old would even make the 23-man squad, but this vote of confidence highlights just how highly Hodgson rates the Chelsea man.
England’s Group C campaign will see the Three Lions face Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
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