Steven Gerrard retires from international football

Steven Gerrard admitted his decision to retire from international duty was “one of the toughest” of his career but the skipper loked back fondly at his 14-year England career.

And while he says he would love to be able to continue playing for his country, with Champions League football returning to Anfield the 34-year-old feels the decision to retire is the right thing to do.

“After a lot of agonising, I’ve decided to step out of the England fold and retire from international duty,” he revealed.

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“It was a very difficult decision to make, it is something that I have been contemplating for a long time, and not just since the end of the World Cup.

“It’s a decision I’ve taken very seriously. It’s swung both ways at times and I’ve had to take an awful lot of advice from people who are close to me.

“It’s been a really tough decision, certainly one of the toughest I’ve had to make since I turned professional at 18.”

Gerrard’s 114th and final appearance came against Costa Rica at the World Cup last month as England were eliminated from the group stage.

However, he insists the early return from Brazil had nothing to do with his decision.

“I haven’t made my decision on the back of the World Cup. I’ve made my decision in my age, on my body, on being fair to Liverpool Football Club, being respectful to them especially with the Champions League back – that was a huge factor.

Steven Gerrard interview“To ask my body now, the way it is and what it has been through, to play international football and domestic football was too much of an ask.”

He added: “It is strange in a way because I still feel as though I could play for England in September, October, November, I’m still in great physical condition.

“But, big picture-wise, over the next two, three, four years, the best thing for my body, where I stand now, is to step aside out of the international fold and give my body the best chance to perform well.”