Ger­rard to call it a day af­ter Brazil?

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

BREN­DAN Rodgers ex­pects Eng­land cap­tain Steven Ger­rard to bring the cur­tain down on his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer af­ter next year’s World Cup fi­nals.

Ger­rard was named in Roy Hodg­son’s squad for the friendlies against Chile and Ger­many and, should he ap­pear in both games, he can move into third place in the list of all-time Eng­land ap­pear­ances.

The Liver­pool mid­fielder has been to three Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships and two World Cups dur­ing his 107-cap Eng­land ca­reer and has made no se­cret of his ex­cite­ment at the prospect of lead­ing his coun­try out in Brazil next June.

But Rodgers be­lieves Ger­rard – who will be 34 come the end of the tour­na­ment – may see that as a fit­ting point to end his in­ter­na­tional com­mit­ments, in or­der to pro­long his Liver­pool ca­reer. Liver­pool man­ager Rodgers sug­gested Roy Hodg­son will use him spar­ingly in the next two games.

“It’s some­thing he will as­sess and look at,” said Rodgers. “If you go to a World Cup at 34 years of age you might not have many more cham­pi­onships left in you. Very few play­ers do. I can think of (Javier) Zanetti and (Paolo) Mal­dini who have played on late but it’s rare.

“Steven is a real tal­is­man for the group. He is a real leader for the team and ev­ery­one there,” said Rodgers. “Whether he plays the friendlies or not is an­other mat­ter. There are ab­so­lutely times when you can rest him and I think that is im­por­tant for him.

“But, for Steven, he prob­a­bly looks at it as though this is his last in­ter­na­tional year and af­ter the World Cup that will be all fin­ished and he will have time to rest. He and Roy have a good re­la­tion­ship and I’m sure if he needs a breather in these two games he will get it.”

Ger­rard has not given any in­di­ca­tion about what he will do af­ter the World Cup but his fit­ness lev­els have ar­guably never been bet­ter. He has played all bar 35 min­utes this sea­son, start­ing all 12 Liver­pool games and all of Eng­land’s five in­ter­na­tion­als. He has been sub­sti­tuted on three oc­ca­sions.

“It will be Steven’s de­ci­sion,” Rodgers added. “But I’m sure in these years now he’ll want to max­imise ev­ery cap, ev­ery per­for­mance and ev­ery minute on the pitch he can, and that’s what he’s try­ing to do.”

Ger­rard’s club­mate Jor­dan Henderson has been re­stored to the se­nior line-up for the first time since Euro 2012 and Rodgers feels call-up has been fully de­served for the con­sis­tency the mid­fielder has shown dur­ing the cam­paign.

“It’s great for the boy and mer­its his start to the sea­son,” said Rodgers. “It is a big credit to him that I have been able to play him in a cou­ple of po­si­tions. If you are go­ing to a World Cup, you need ver­sa­tile play­ers and he is that.” – Daily Mail

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