World Cup 2014: A miserable six weeks for Steven Gerrard signals the end is nigh for his unfulfilled England career - International - Football - The Independent

World Cup 2014: A miserable six weeks for Steven Gerrard signals the end is nigh for his unfulfilled England career

Should England suffer an early exit from the World Cup after defeat to Uruguay, Gerrard is expected to retire from international football

It’s been a 2014 to forget for Steven Gerrard so far. As if the slip that allowed Demba Ba to run through on goal and give Chelsea victory against Liverpool that ultimately cost the Reds the Premier League title wasn’t bad enough, the 34-year-old has become the primary target for England supporters’ criticism in the wake of the 2-1 defeat to Uruguay.

LIVE: Follow the latest news from Italy v Costa Rica, plus news from Switzerland v France and Honduras v Ecuador

Gerrard was deemed to be at fault for the first goal that saw Edinson Cavani chip a floated ball across the England defence for Gerrard’s Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez to head past Joe Hart. Having rallied to level the scores thanks to Wayne Rooney’s first ever World Cup goal at this third attempt, Gerrard then knocked a weary-looking header straight into the path of Suarez to leave him through on goal, and he duly consigned England to a second straight 2-1 defeat in Brazil.

And to make matters worse, he turned 34 at the end of May to feel that little bit older.

Despite enjoying a glittering career for Liverpool, the Three Lions’ captain has been criticised for failing to reproduce that form on the international stage. Istanbul and the 2006 FA Cup final are phrases that go hand-in-hand with the name Gerrard, but he has simply failed to perform when he dons the white shirt of England.

 

So is it time for Gerrard to call it a day? He hinted before the tournament that this could very well be his last, but he looked distinctly off the pace in both games that England suffered a narrow defeat in. Whether or not that had anything to do with the Manaus heat taking the best out of the midfielder, or whether his legs have finally gone, Gerrard must be seriously questioning his future for his country.

He is likely to have at least one more chance against Costa Rica, providing Roy Hodgson doesn’t wield the biggest of axes and drop his captain for one of Ross Barkley, Frank Lampard or Jack Wilshere. England can still qualify for the second round should they beat Costa Rica and hope that Italy win their remaining games against the same opponents and Uruguay, while they will also need to better the Costa Ricans goal difference.

Read more: Uruguay 2 England 1 match report
Not even Rooney could save England from Suarez
It's not totally over, as England can still qualify

Part of the ill-Christened “Golden Generation” that failed to deliver their full attention, it is hard to see how Gerrard can carry on until Euro 2016, and despite amassing 113 caps for his country, he will be largely unsatisfied with how his England career panned out – just like many before him.

The footage of Gerrard delivering a sharp message to his Reds’ team-mates that they can’t afford to let the Premier League title slip away came back to embarrass him when he did exactly that to allow Ba in to score, but the sight of yesterday’s performance was more of a sad disappointment rather than and humiliation. It was the sight that no player wants to see when everyone know their time is up.

He will surely continue his club career, and right he is to do so after his impressive showing throughout the last campaign that saw Liverpool rise once again to finish second after a few years in the Premier League wilderness. But sadly, he will never be remembered as an England great.

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