Gerrard calls time on England career

 England captain Steven Gerrard retired from international football on Monday after becoming a pillar of the team in 114 appearances, but making way after the country's disastrous World Cup campaign.

 Gerrard, 34, led England at the World Cup where they bowed out in the group stage. The Liverpool midfielder said he had "agonised" over the decision since returning from Brazil.

 "This has been a very difficult decision, one of the toughest I've had to make in my career," Gerrard told the Football Association's FATV.

 "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. 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."

 Gerrard has been hailed as one of the best midfielders to come out of England. The first of his 21 international goals came in a famous 5-1 victory over Germany in a World Cup qualifier in September, 2001.

 Gerrard said his desire to maintain his form and fitness for Liverpool, particularly given the Reds return to this season's Champions League, also played a factor in his England retirement.

 Gerrard, who made his international debut against Ukraine in 2000, trails just Peter Shilton (125) and David Beckham (115) on England's all-time caps list.

 He appeared at three World Cup finals as well as three European Championships. He captained England on 38 occasions, notably at both 2010 and 2014 World Cups as well as Euro 2012.

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