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Gerrard Says Goodbye to England

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Having represented his country for 14 years, Steven Gerrard has today retired from international football to focus on Liverpool and a return to the Champions League at the club level.

Richard Heathcote

After more than a decade representing his country, Steven Gerrard today has announced his retirement from international football. In total, he wore the shirt for England at three World Cups and three European Championships, winning 114 caps along the way. He captained England 38 times, including at the World Cup this past summer.

"I have enjoyed every minute representing my country, and it is a sad day for me knowing I won't put on the England shirt again," said Gerrard today at a press conference to announce his international retirement. "However, I do look forward to continuing my relationship with [the national team] and helping out in any way I can going forward."

Gerrard retires as the third most capped player in England's history, behind only Peter Shilton and David Beckham. Had he continued to play as England begin to look ahead to the 2016 European Championships he would have easily surpassed both, but with the player now 34 years of age he decided it was time to go.

"This has been a very difficult decision, one of the toughest I've had to make in my career," he said. "I've agonised over this since coming back from Brazil and have spoken to family, friends, and people close to me in the game before coming to this point.

"Most importantly, Brendan Rodgers has been fantastic and obviously I have to look after my body as much as possible to ensure I can give everything when I take to the field. To ensure I can keep playing at a high level and giving everything to Liverpool Football Club I believe this is the right decision, and having Champions League football back at Anfield is a factor."

Gerrard also found time to thank Roy Hodgson for his role in making him England's permanent captain after the former Liverpool manager took over the national team. In turn, Hodgson was supportive of Gerrard's decision despite his obvious disappointment at losing one of England's key players.

"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," said the England manager. "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."