Gerrard rules out England retirement with World Cup in mind

Steven Gerrard has refused to be drawn on the row surrounding Rio Ferdinand’s involvement with the England team but the Liverpool midfielder is eager to take the Three Lions to the World Cup in Brazil as captain, the Daily Mail has reported.

Ferdinand was named in the England squad for the first time since June 2011 – and for the first time under current manager Roy Hodgson – only to pull out earlier this week, citing a need to maintain the fitness programme laid down by his club, Manchester United.

It was later revealed that Ferdinand was flying to Qatar as part of a pre-planned trip, where he was also undertake punditry duties for Al Jazeera, commenting on England’s match with San Marino on Friday evening.

Gerrard did not want to criticise his former England colleague for his decision not to travel with the squad for the World Cup qualification double-header – with Montenegro to come next week – but insisted his goal was to play in Brazil for England next summer, as captain.

I don’t know if Rio has turned his back on England and I don’t know the details from his side. But I want to take this team to a World Cup in Brazil. At my age there’s no better stage for a footballer to play on,” Gerrard said.

The 32-year-old added that, like Ferdinand, he also has a strict regime for rest and recovery, but he needs only two days before he is ready to play again – and that he is keen to play against San Marino on Friday as well as Montenegro on Tuesday. “Playing for England is the pinnacle and if I don’t play against San Marino I’ll be very disappointed, which shows what it means to me,” Gerrard said.

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