After a glittering 14-year career representing his country, Steven Gerrard has retired from international duty.
The 34-year-old made his debut in 2000 in a 2-0 win over Ukraine at Wembley, and the Liverpool captain went on to play 114 times for England, score 21 times and represent the Three Lions at six major tournaments.
Gerrard’s first tournament came under Kevin Keegan when he was part of the squad for Euro 2000. It was the first of three UEFA European Championship Finals he would play a part in, with Portugal in 2004 and Ukraine and Poland in 2012.
Though he missed the 2002 World Cup through injury, he played in three FIFA World Cup Finals, his first in Germany 2006, then as captain for both South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014.
In all Gerrard played 12 World Cup Finals matches, scoring three goals.
A winner of countless prizes at club level, both team and individual awards, Gerrard won the England Player of the Year award, voted for by the fans, in both 2007 and 2012.
Gerrard was captain of the England team 38 times, and was the third most capped player of all time behind Peter Shilton (125) and David Beckham (115). He is joined in the century club by Bobby Moore (108), Ashley Cole (107), Bobby Charlton (106), Frank Lampard (106) and Billy Wright (105).
Gerrard will continue his strong relationship with The Football Association developed during his England career, in a high profile ambassadorial role with the governing body.
He said: “I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country and it is a sad day for me knowing that I won’t pull on the England shirt again.
"However, I do look forward to continuing my strong relationship with The FA and helping out in any way I can going forward.
“I’d like to firstly thank my family and friends for all their support throughout my England journey.
"I’d also like to thank everyone who has been part of my international career, from the England Managers I’ve played under to the staff at The FA and, of course, all the players I’ve been fortunate to play alongside.
"In particular, the supporters have been amazing, not least in Brazil when they got behind the team despite the disappointing results.
“I’d especially like to thank Roy [Hodgson], firstly for giving me the captaincy permanently when he took the job, making me the proudest man in the country and allowing me to fulfil my childhood dream.
"He has been very understanding over the past few weeks and is a man I will always hold in the highest regard.
“This has been a very difficult decision, one of the toughest I’ve had to make in my career. I have agonised over this since coming back from Brazil and have spoken to family, friends and people close to me in the game before coming to this point.
"Most importantly, Brendan [Rodgers] has been fantastic and obviously I have to look after my body as much as possible to ensure I can give everything when I take to the field.
“To ensure I can keep playing to a high level and giving everything to Liverpool Football Club I believe this is the right decision, and having Champions League football back at Anfield is another big factor in my decision.”
Hodgson said: “While I’m disappointed in the decision, I can entirely understand Steven’s situation and can have no complaints given the incredible service he has given to his country.
"I must respect his wishes due to the discussions we have had and the amount of thought and consideration he himself has given it.
“He is an incredible man and a fantastic footballer who we have all been blessed to see in an England shirt so often. It is never by coincidence that people reach such a staggering figure as 114 caps, it is a mark of his wonderful talent allied to a huge drive and determination to live up to the highest standard.
“He is not only a player to bring crowds to their feet with moments of brilliance; he was a tremendous captain and an exceptional role model for everyone who was fortunate to come into contact with him. We shall miss his leadership qualities as we look ahead to the qualification campaign with a youthful group of players.
“I wish him all the best in the future, although I know I can count on his continued support and influence as a helpful presence moving forward.”
FA Chairman Greg Dyke said: "It is sad news but also gives us the opportunity to celebrate a wonderful career; Steven gave everything for England and he will be missed.
"I saw at first hand his close relationship with Roy, and as a captain he could not have done more for the cause.
"He played at the highest level over such a long period of time and earned 114 caps, making him the third most capped player for England, and also featured in six major tournaments - his longevity and determination will see him remembered by everyone as an England great."
Club England managing director Adrian Bevington also paid tribute to Gerrard’s career, saying: "It has been a privilege to work with Steven since he was first called into the Under-21 squad as a teenager 15 years ago.
"An outstanding England player on the pitch, I know I can speak for everyone associated with the National team when saying he has been an outstanding person to deal with off the pitch.
"This has been exemplified by how he has conducted himself as England captain and we look forward to working with Steven in an ambassadorial capacity in the future."
mods, this is actually big news for the soccer world in general, it's not about the world cup. please reconsider.