England captain Steven Gerrard has announced his retirement from international football, England’s Football Association said on Monday.
The Liverpool midfielder won 114 caps for his country after making his debut in a 2-0 win over Ukraine at Wembley in 2000.
“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,” the 34-year-old told the FA’s website (thefa.com).
Gerrard’s appearance at the World Cup in Brazil last month was the sixth time he had represented England at a major tournament, but it ended in failure as Roy Hodgson’s side went out at the group stage.
Gerrard said he was retiring from internationals in part to ensure he can keep playing to a high level with Liverpool.
“I’d like to firstly thank my family and friends for all their support throughout my England journey,” Gerrard added.
“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 fulfill 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, Liverpool manager) 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.”
The FA said Gerrard will continue his strong relationship with the governing body in a “high profile ambassadorial role”.