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Mar 8, 2013

Carragher stands by retirement decision

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher's recent run in the team will not be enough to make him reverse his decision to retire at the end of the season.

• Blog: Signings give hope for future

Carragher, 35, announced his decision to quit last month, having spent most of the season on the bench up to that point.

However, the Anfield stalwart is currently on a run of seven consecutive Premier League starts for Brendan Rodgers' side, and is in line to make his 500th appearance in the competition against Tottenham on Sunday.

Despite his recent form, Carragher is not contemplating going back on his move to end his 16-year career.

"I made my decision and nothing that's happened since has changed my mind about that,'' he told the Liverpool Echo. "I've not had any second thoughts just because things are going well. People say because I'm playing I should carry on for another year.

"But in fact being back in the team only confirms for me that I've made the right decision. I want to go out on a high, proving I can still perform at that level. Obviously the previous 12 months had been difficult in terms of starting games. You never lose that buzz of wanting to play every week, and I'm delighted to be back in the side.

"I could play on for another season, but the fact is the club will be buying players in my position in the summer and I can't go back to being a substitute again."

Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers insists he has no intention of trying to talk Carragher out of retirement, saying he respects his decision to call time on his career, and wants him to be left to enjoy his final games.

The Liverpool manager said: "I've been aware of Jamie's situation from last summer. It's been in his mind now for 18 months or so. I was very thankful that he was prepared to stay on thisseason and I think it's going for him how he would want it to go.

"He's a very proud man and an outstanding player. You can see, even at 35, how he's playing at this level. But I think how it's going to go, the remainder of this season, is how he'd want it to go. Our focus has been purely on the games. He and I speak a lot, but we haven't spoken specifically about him coming out of retirement.

"And I have to respect that the reason he made the announcement was purely to get it out there, so that he could focus on his football. So I don't think it's right for him to be asked and for me to talk about it, when he made the decision to get it out there, answer the questions at the time and then talk more at the end of the season."

Rodgers paid tribute to the professionalism of a player who first trained with Liverpool as a nine-year-old, and who has become a key part of the club since making his senior debut in January 1997.

He said: "Jamie's a remarkably professional, how he's looked after himself all his life. If you play for a club such as Liverpool, the pressure is near enough incomparable in relation to most other clubs.

"So to be here for this length of time, and commit yourself to the cause, and to have been as successful as he's been, as a local boy as well, and still be outstanding at this level at 35 really shows the impact he's made as a footballer.

"He's very focused on the remaining games, and I hope he can continue with the form he's shown since he was brought into the team recently. It's a remarkable effort to play that many games at this level. It's a huge credit to his professionalism."

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