STEVEN Gerrard’s decision to call time on his international career was right for all concerned.
Although he could have continued to become his country’s all-time record appearance-maker, being just 11 caps behind the 125 of Peter Shilton, standing aside now makes perfect sense.
At 34, Gerrard is in the twilight of his playing days, but his international retirement will allow him to extend his club career at Liverpool without the rigours of a Euro 2016 qualifying programme.
Crucially, it will also allow England to move on at a time when they need to be planning for the future following yet another World Cup disappointment.
But it raises one key question: Who should be the next England captain?
There is no stand-out choice, as Gerrard was in the aftermath of the John Terry shenanigans.
The only candidates appear to be Wayne Rooney, Joe Hart or Gary Cahill, and that’s only based on them having the most experience.
Do we even need one?
For what it’s worth, I think the role of England captain, and football in general, is over-rated when compared to other sports.
An honour it might be, but what actual value does it carry on the pitch beyond the ceremonial?
It does not hold the same level of importance as in a sport like cricket.
In football, we are told it is leadership qualities that make a captain but we didn’t see that in Gerrard, if truth be told.
When the chips were down, as they were in Brazil, where was the Liverpool skipper screaming encouragement, as he does at Anfield?
Whoever does take the armband after Gerrard will certainly need to show that.