Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admits the club’s return to the Champions League was one of the factors in his decision to retire from international football.
The 34-year-old was used judiciously by Reds manager Brendan Rodgers last season and as a result made 34 Premier League appearances.
With the additional demands of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time in five years, England’s third-highest appearance maker has decided now is a good time to bow out.
“Obviously I have to look after my body as much as possible to ensure I can give everything when I take to the field,” said the midfielder who, with 114 caps, is only behind goalkeeper Peter Shilton (124) and David Beckham (115).
“To ensure I can keep playing to a high level and giving everything to Liverpool Football Club I believe this is the right decision, and having Champions League football back at Anfield is another big factor in my decision.”
Gerrard put a lot of thought into his decision after a disappointing World Cup and it is not as a result of a knee-jerk reaction.
“This has been a very difficult decision, one of the toughest I’ve had to make in my career,” he said.
“I have agonised over this since coming back from Brazil and have spoken to family, friends and people close to me in the game before coming to this point.”
Meanwhile, QPR striker Loic Remy has flown to the United States to have a medical ahead of a move to Liverpool.
The Reds jetted out to Boston on Sunday to begin their pre-season tour and it is understood they will be joined by the 27-year-old Frenchman late last night.
Remy, who scored 14 goals on loan at Newcastle last season during QPR’s year out of the Premier League, will undergo his physical examination by Liverpool’s medical team today and is likely to be confirmed as their fifth summer signing tomorrow.
Belgium striker Divock Origi is expected to make the same trip as Remy for a medical with a deal virtually concluded with Lille but no date has been set for that as yet.
While Rodgers is bringing in more strikers it seems he cannot get rid of another as Fabio Borini wants to stay and fight for his place at Anfield despite the club accepting a £14 million (€18m) bid from Sunderland where the Italian had a successful loan spell last season.
Borini played in Saturday’s friendly win over Preston and has travelled with the squad to America.
“He wants to remain on Merseyside,” his agent Marco de Marchi said.
“Sunderland have made a large offer of €18m to sign him but Fabio wants to stay. I think he will stay, he is convinced that he will play.”
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