Roy Hodgson has not given up hope of persuading his captain, Steven Gerrard, to prolong his international career beyond the summer's World Cup as the England head coach awaits today's draw for the qualifying phase for Euro 2016.
Gerrard turns 34 in May and, if he features in the friendly fixtures against Denmark, Peru, Ecuador and Honduras in the build-up to the finals in Brazil, will line up for his 113th cap against Italy in Manaus when England open their tournament on 14 June.
The Liverpool midfielder is expected to step down from the national side after the finals – the World Cup will be his sixth major tournament – in an effort to prolong his playing career at club level, though Hodgson will speak with him once the team's participation in Brazil has been concluded.
The veteran was the most used of England's outfield players over the team's unbeaten qualification for Brazil, playing 670 minutes in his eight matches, and scored the late goal that ensured victory over Poland in the decisive final fixture. Asked if Gerrard could still lead the national team into the Euro 2016 qualification campaign, Hodgson said: "I don't know if he necessarily couldn't. He will be 34 in May so he will be getting on for 36 [in 2016], so I think a lot will depend on him and how he feels, and how he is playing. At the moment there has been no slowing down in his play.
"The [deeper-lying] role he is playing for Liverpool he has played for us as well in one or two games, and it went well. I think Steven, who is such an all-round player, will give you good attacking work and good defending work. Whether that spares him running or not, I don't know. Sometimes you think he is not doing as much there but you might be surprised."
England will be included in the first pot of seeds in today's draw, avoiding Germany, Spain, Italy and Holland among others in their six-team group. Scotland and Wales are among the fourth seeds, Northern Ireland in the fifth pot.
Hodgson will name a swollen squad of at least 30 names on Thursday for next month's friendly against the Danes at Wembley, with Raheem Sterling and Luke Shaw to be included.
Sunday Indo Sport