Gerrard to call it a day after Brazil?
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