Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard has finally decided to retire from international football and focus on the club.
Although Stevie G ended his England career in the worst possible manner with the disaster world cup campaign in Brazil and has earned hell lot of criticism, still he has been the best player for his country in big tournaments of the past decade (post Euro 2004).
Reds skipper has never been as influential for his national side as he has been for Liverpool but that has been the case with most stars and for England, perhaps with every star.
World Cup 2006
England were knocked out in the quarter final by Portugal on penalties. Gerrard ended the tournament as the leading goalscorer for his side with 2 goals, scoring against Trinidad & Tobago and Sweden in the Group stages.
Having said that, David Beckham and Owen Hargreaves were arguably more influential than Gerrard.
The three lions did not even qualify for the European Championships of 2008 under the horrific management of Steve Mclaren. Obviously the blame falls on all the England players for being average in the qualifying campaign.
World Cup 2010
Gerrard was handed the captain’s armband as Rio Ferdinand limped off injured before the start of their tournament and the Liverpool superstar led from the front. Steive scored an early goal, only to be undone by a clumsy mistake by Green to let USA equalize.
England’s attack was non-existent with Wayne Rooney arguably the single worst player of the tournament. They were eliminated in Round of 16 netting just 3 goals in the competition with Gerrard scoring and assisting one (Upson v Germany).
England had to make do with a late managerial change as Hodgson was appointed before the tournament and named Gerrard as the captain. Stevie was the combined leading assist provider of the tournament with Arshavin, Silva and Ozil assisting 3 goals.
Gerrard provided assist in every group game for the three lions and was the only English player to make the team of the tournament.
World Cup 2014
Without doubt, one of the worst ever World Cup campaigns for England and Gerrard was surprisingly woeful after a brilliant season with the Reds. Then again, there wasn’t any hit for the three lions in this disastrous tournament.
As far as England is concerned, the term “Best” should not really be used because majority have under-performed over the years and so did the nation. “Better than the rest” would suit and in the big tournaments of the past decade, Gerrard has been exactly that.
Follow Soccerisma on Twitter: Soccerisma