The incumbent captain of Liverpool and England, Steven Gerrard, has announced his immediate retirement from international football. This has of course been rumoured ever since the poor performance by himself and the English national team at the recent 2014 World Cup. However despite leaving on a negative, one can argue that Gerrard had an international career some would be downright jealous of, having accumulated 114 caps (only bettered by Peter Shilton and David Beckham) and playing a key part in the glorious 5-1 destruction of Germany in 2001.
Yet despite Gerrard’s illustrious career with Liverpool, I sincerely doubt there will be that many English fans who would be sad to hear of it. Perhaps a tad harsh one might think but it remains quite possible to argue that Gerrard never quite recreated that same passion and ability for England that made him so beloved on Merseyside. For instance during the highly successful 2008-2009 Liverpool season (where they finished runners up, sound familiar?) Gerrard scored 16 goals and assisted 12, he was the fulcrum of that team, both creating and scoring, his power and drive sealed himself to legendary status upon the Liverpool faithful, yet we never got to fully witness that level of ability consistently in an England shirt.
One could argue that Gerrard’s poor performances in an England shirt was more to do with who he was surrounded by. The most commonly discussed problem for Gerrard at international level was the combination play (or perhaps, lack of) between him and Frank Lampard. Lampard was to Chelsea what Gerrard was to Liverpool, their centre midfield talisman, full of drive and passion; in that aspect I guess it was to be expected that their England performances were equally underwhelming. At Liverpool Gerrard had the pleasure of playing with Torres in his finest years, not the disappointing shadow of his former self that we witness now, but rather a striker who would strike fear into many defenders. Whereas comparatively for England he was to assist the services of an injury prone Michael Owen and a young inexperienced Wayne Rooney.
This has been a very scathing article, however, surprisingly, I do not dislike Gerrard, in fact I’ve always thought he is a fantastic player, I guess after years of watching him play incredibly for Liverpool and save their bacon (2006 FA Cup Final and 2005 Champions League Final), I am disappointed that he never hit the same heights for England!