Roy could ask Gerrard to delay retirement

Roy Hodgson will try to talk Steven Gerrard out of international retirement after the World Cup if he believes the captain is still good enough to play for England.

Gerrard

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers claimed this week that Gerrard, who has 107 caps, will quit international football after next year's tournament in Brazil.

Gerrard himself has always maintained that Brazil 2014 will be his final World Cup, although he has not revealed whether he plans to play a part in England's qualification campaign for the European Championship.

Gerrard will replace Bobby Moore as England's third-most capped player if he plays against Chile and Germany over the next 10 days, and will become the most capped outfield player during the World Cup if he takes part in every game until the finals.

Beyond that Peter Shilton's record of 125 caps would be in sight if Gerrard plays on and remains in the side for England's bid to reach France 2016.

As it stands, Hodgson has received no hints from Gerrard about his retirement plans.

"I don't know if he will retire (after the World Cup)," the England manager said. "I haven't given that any thought. It's a bit too far in the future to really consider."

Gerrard has played under eight different England managers since his debut 13 years ago.

The 33-year-old made his name as a player capable of piercing opposition defences with surging runs.

But over time Gerrard has had to alter his game to a deeper role, just like fellow veteran midfielders Frank Lampard and Ryan Giggs have done.

That has not lessened his importance to the England side, however.

Hodgson relies on Gerrard just as much as when the midfielder was in his prime for England under Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Gerrard played in every World Cup qualifier except the 8-0 win over San Marino, bagging two goals in the process. Fittingly, he scored the goal against Poland which sealed World Cup qualification last month.

The Liverpool skipper has adapted well to his deeper role, combining well with Frank Lampard, and latterly Jack Wilshere, in the centre of the park.

The likes of Ravel Morrison, James Ward-Prowse, Adam Lallana and Ross Barkley may be knocking on the door, but should Hodgson believe Gerrard is better than any of the younger options available, he will ask the Liverpool man to play on beyond the summer of 2014.

"As a coach, I will always be trying to keep the players who I think are the best available and want to play for England," said Hodgson, who managed Gerrard at Liverpool.

"Who knows, after the World Cup if Steven does say, 'I want to retire', and I still think, 'No, don't do that, you can carry on', I would be more than happy to have the conversation with him."

Morrison was one of the players Hodgson considered bringing in for the upcoming friendlies against Chile and Germany, but instead he opted to recall Lallana after his fine early-season form for Southampton.

Morrison's superb solo goal against Tottenham, and his fine displays for the England Under-21 team last month demonstrate that he has the ability to become a fine midfielder, but doubts have been raised about his temperament in the past.

Sir Alex Ferguson ditched Morrison after becoming disheartened with the attitude of the 20-year-old. But Hodgson believes the player is now a changed man.

"From what I understand speaking to (West Ham manager) Sam (Allardyce) and the people at West Ham, this is a player who's changed himself quite a lot during the last few years so I certainly wouldn't want to be judging him on his past," the England boss added.

"I want to judge him on his present and there will come a time, I am sure, where he will become part of an England squad, and if I am lucky enough to be coaching that squad I will get to know him then.

"He is someone we watch and think about. On this occasion, I prefer that he plays the Under-21s and that we keep faith with Barkley in the first national team, but that doesn't mean to say that Barkley will always be in the first national team squad and Morrison will always be in the Under-21s."



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