Hodgson wants Gerrard to continue

Andover Advertiser: Steven Gerrard has been encouraged to continue playing for England by Roy Hodgson Steven Gerrard has been encouraged to continue playing for England by Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson has told Steven Gerrard he wants him to continue playing for England.

Gerrard confirmed on Sunday that he would wait a few weeks before deciding whether to quit England.

The England captain, who turned 34 last month, requires pain-killing injections in his back and next year he will be playing Champions League football for Liverpool on top of an already gruelling domestic schedule.

His position in the international side has also come under scrutiny at this World Cup thanks to his sub-par display against Uruguay - a performance that did not merit a mark out of 10, according to Spanish newspaper AS.

But Hodgson made it clear to Gerrard on Sunday morning that he thinks his captain still has what it takes to play at the highest level.

"The manager has asked me to stay," Gerrard said.

Hodgson replied with a "yes" when asked if that meant he wanted Gerrard to carry on as captain too.

It may have been just a one-word answer, but that was a big vote of confidence in Gerrard from Hodgson, who still values the midfielder's leadership and playing skills highly.

Still, Gerrard will not be rushed into making any snap judgements regarding his future.

The Liverpool midfielder has gone through many ups and downs over the last few months. He enjoyed a superb year with Liverpool until his slip against Chelsea handed Manchester City the title.

He was proud to finally lead England into a major tournament as the official captain - not like in 2010 when he did so by default - but ultimately his accident flick-on to Luis Suarez handed Uruguay the win in Sao Paulo.

"In my head I've got a mixture of emotions: frustration, pain," he said.

"The season for Liverpool ended badly for me and the team. I was coming out of that trying to put that to bed, trying to get some positivity back in the World Cup. This is exactly what I didn't want to happen.

"But I've faced adversity before, played through it, stayed strong. I have to try and grieve, get away with the family and away from international football, and then make a decision.

"It would be wrong for me to make that decision now. I need to get away for a while."

Gerrard was giving little away about what his gut feeling was on the matter.

It looks as if it will be next month before the 112-cap midfielder goes public with his decision.

"The first person who'll know is Roy. I spoke to him this morning and said I'd need at least three weeks to clear my head," Gerrard said.

"I will consider it long and hard, and speak to people who will help guide me.

"I'll put everyone before myself. I've done that all the way through. I'm able to make the decision that's best."

Hodgson confirmed after the press conference that Gerrard would start on the bench in the dead rubber against Costa Rica, meaning Frank Lampard will captain the side in Belo Horizonte for what might be his final England appearance.

Gerrard has experienced three penalty shootout defeats with England, a humiliating defeat to Germany and he has been part of a failed qualifying European Championship campaign.

But England's early exit from this World Cup is one of the lowest points of his international career.

Gerrard was so deflated after the Uruguay game that he did not watch the Costa Rica-Italy game even though the result of that game would decide England's fate.

"I didn't watch it all," he said. "I was flicking to check the score. "The last couple of days have been grim.

"I had a tiny glimmer of hope but that made the pain even worse when the game was gone.

"It was a desperate position to be in. To me, that's not good enough - hoping on others - when you've got the talented players you've got in this squad.

"When you're an England player, captain, fan and you've worked so hard to get into this position, for two years to get to a World Cup, and had that belief and confidence you'd get out the group, for it to backfire over a few days... it's a tough place to be in.

"I'm not going to share blame or responsibility, so I've got to take it on the chin."

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