Monday 29 December 2014

Gerrard retirement 'boosts Reds'

Published 21/07/2014 | 17:04

Former team-mate Jamie Carragher is confident the decision made by Steven Gerrard, pictured, to retire from international football will benefit club Liverpool
Former team-mate Jamie Carragher is confident the decision made by Steven Gerrard, pictured, to retire from international football will benefit club Liverpool

Former team-mate Jamie Carragher is confident England's loss will be Liverpool's gain after Steven Gerrard announced his retirement from international football.

Carragher, who played alongside Gerrard for both club and country, believes the 34-year-old midfielder has several more years in his legs as he prepares to embark upon another Champions League campaign with the Merseysiders.

The former defender told Sky Sports News: "Listen, for Liverpool Football Club, it's a great decision. I am sure the Liverpool supporters will be happy.

"You get a fresher Steven Gerrard. He had a great season last season with the demands of England.

"But there will be more demands on Liverpool this season, more expected because of the season they had last year, and Steven Gerrard is still a vital part of Liverpool - and I think he will be for the next two or three years, so for (manager) Brendan Rodgers, it's a great decision by Stevie."

Carragher insists Gerrard could have continued to represent both Liverpool and England, as he did last season, although he admits the demands of Europe's most prestigious club competition lie behind his decision.

He said: "I think he could have. I think he has shown that throughout his career, he has been able to deal with the demands of Liverpool and England.

"I think just that fact of Liverpool being back into Europe now, that adds to the schedule of games.

"At times, you are playing two or three times a week because he is still vitally important to Liverpool, and I think he is also for England in some ways because there isn't a natural person you could see taking the role he has now with England in terms of that holding role, that sitting role.

"There are not many young players coming through in that role, but England will have to find someone to fill that role."

Gerrard ended his England career having won the last of his 114 caps at an ultimately disappointing World Cup finals in Brazil, and Carragher admits he will have done so, like many of his contemporaries, regretting the fact that a so-called Golden Generation never quite reached the heights expected of it.

He said: "Of course, that's not just Steve, that's a whole generation of those players, that they never got quite close enough, maybe even getting to a semi-final or a final in a big tournament.

"You think of the players they have had over the last decade or so, I think it will be a big disappointment for all of them.

"That's why it probably was a bigger decision, because England didn't do so well in the summer.

"I think he would have loved to have had a great World Cup, the team do really well, all come back and then his decision to retire may have been a bit easier because I think he, along with a lot of those players who played in that decade or so, may feel we probably should have achieved more."

Former Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry paid tribute to an international captain who allowed his football to do his talking.

Parry said: "Steven was the sort who led by example. He wasn't necessarily always demonstrative or the one that made the most noise, but he was a true leader by example.

"He had a quieter determination, a phenomenal will to succeed and he's the sort who would have gone around making his point to the players one by one and quietly without being as demonstrative as some.

"But I know it was something that he cared absolutely passionately about. Despite all the honours he had won, it was a great honour for him when he was finally given the captaincy."

Former England colleague Rio Ferdinand took to Twitter after hearing the news.

Ferdinand tweeted: "Next England captain??? Gerrard has been an incredible player. Surpassing 100 caps is some achievement."

He was joined by former England striker Gary Lineker, who posted: "Steven Gerrard has retired from international football. He's been a wonderful servant to his country. A great player who always gave all."

However, Sven-Goran Eriksson, who worked with Gerrard during his time as England manager, admitted his disappointment at the decision.

He said: "I am sorry for that, for England and for Steven. I think he should have gone on. That's my opinion, go on playing for your country as long as you can.

"But of course I don't know why he is saying that. Maybe his body is a little bit tired, maybe he feels that he can't do twice a week all year round, I don't know.

"But it's a pity because he has been a great, great player for Liverpool and for England."

Press Association

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