Former striker Michael Owen believes Steven Gerrard should reflect on his international career with pride, despite a lack of success, after the midfielder announced his retirement from England duty Monday.
Gerrard earned 114 caps for his country and captained the Three Lions for 38 matches, including in the 2014 FIFA World Cup where England were eliminated in the group stage.
However, Owen said his former teammate experienced more highlights than disappointments and believes Gerrard now wants to pass the baton onto the younger players.
Owen blogged on Sportlobster.com: “In Stevie’s case, he obviously feels it is time for the younger generation to step forward and quite literally fill his boots at international level.
“Having reached this decision, we can only admire his conviction and congratulate him on an international career to be proud of.
“Of course, he will have wanted the team to have achieved more at the six major tournaments he played in.
“But with 114 caps and 21 goals to his name, and captaining his country on 38 occasions, he can be very proud of his achievements.”
He added: “Rather like when I was considering hanging up my boots, you go through the pros and cons of staying or going and you consider the personal and professional hopes and dreams you’ve held on to for so many years.
“Ultimately, you have to make a decision you feel most comfortable with and one you hope will be in the best interests of everyone, who is likely to be affected.”
Gerrard was handed his international debut in May 2000 against Ukraine and scored his first England goal in the famous 5-1 victory against Germany in Munich.
The 34-year-old leaves as the third-highest capped England player and Owen, who said Gerrard was second only to Zinedine Zidane in terms of ability, hopes the midfielder fires Liverpool to the Premier League title.
Owen said: “I believe Stevie’s decision to stand down from international duty has in no small part been made with a view to prolonging his career at Liverpool.
“Despite England’s lack of success during his time with them, I for one hope he can add to his already impressive haul with Liverpool by lifting the one piece of domestic silverware, which has eluded him thus far.”
He added: “England will miss Gerrard, but Liverpool will definitely feel the benefit of him resting during the international breaks in the Premier League.”
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