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Nov 8, 2013

Rodgers predicts Gerrard retirement

England captain Steven Gerrard is likely to retire from international football after next year’s World Cup, according to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.

Steven Gerrard doubled England's advantage in the closing minutes to make sure of their qualification.
Brendan Rodgers predicts Steven Gerrard will retire from England after the World Cup in Brazil.

Gerrard, who has won 107 caps, scored the goal that sealed his country’s place in Brazil as they beat Poland 2-0 in their final qualifier on Oct. 15.

The midfielder -- who will turn 34 next May, shortly before the World Cup finals begin -- suggested in August that 2014 might be his final year as an international player.

For the time being, he remains a key part of Roy Hodgson’s squad, and has been called up for the friendlies against Chile and Germany later in November.

Rodgers told the Guardian: “I think it [resting Gerrard] is something that Roy has looked at for these games but Steven is a real talisman for the group.

“He is real leader for the team and everyone there. Whether he plays in the two friendlies or not is another matter. There are absolutely times when you can rest him and I think that is important for him.

“But Steven probably looks at it as though this is his last international year -- and after the World Cup, that will be all finished and he will have lots of time to rest then.

“He and Roy have a good relationship and I’m sure if he needs that breather in these two games, he will get that.”

Rodgers is keen to ensure that Gerrard, who has started all 12 of Liverpool’s games and all five England matches this season, is not overworked.

The manager is aware of outfield players with major international tournament experience who have maintained a long career at the top level -- Inter Milan midfielder Javier Zanetti was still playing for Argentina at the age of 38, while AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini did not retire from club football until a month short of his 41st birthday.

But Rodgers thinks Gerrard will step away from international football to focus on his club career.

He said: “I think it’s something he will assess and look at.

“If you go to a World Cup in Brazil at 34 years of age you might not have many more championships left in you. Very few players do. I can think of Zanetti and Maldini who have played on late but it’s rare.

“It will be Steven’s decision but I’m sure in these years now he’ll want to maximise every cap, every performance and every minute on the pitch he can, and that’s what he’s trying to do.”

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