England captain calls it a day after 114 appearances. Golden Generation loses another member as Gerrard opts to focus on club career.
England captain Steven Gerrard has retired from international football after winning 114 caps.
The England midfielder scored 21 times and represented his country at six major tournaments.
Gerrard, 34, made his debut in a 2-0 win over Ukraine in 2000 and played for the last time at the 2014 World Cup in a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica.
“I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country. It’s a sad day for me,” the Liverpool midfielder said.
“It was a very difficult decision to make. It’s something I have been contemplating for a long time, not just since the end of the World Cup.
“I’ve had to take an awful lot of advice from people who are close to me – players that I still play with, ex-players who I played with a long time ago, managers who I played for years ago.
“It’s been a really tough decision, certainly one of the toughest since I turned professional at 18.
“However, I do look forward to continuing my strong relationship with The FA and helping out in any way I can going forward.
“I’d like to firstly thank my family and friends for all their support throughout my England journey.
“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.”
England coach Roy Hodgson lavished praise on a man who may not have any silverware to show for a international career spanning 14 years, but who nonetheless, can always say he was available for selection.
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.
“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. 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.”
FA Chairman Greg Dyke said: “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.”
So, there ends the less-than-glittering international career of yet another member of England’s fabled ‘Golden Generation. 114 appearances and three quarter-final appearances to show for them. In terms of the reality not matching up to the hype, only the career of David Beckham, who won 115 caps, comes close.
If you thought that was the last you’d see of Gerrard near an England team, think again. The FA intend to create a “high profile” ambassadorial role with the Football Association.