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Gerrard to spend summer considering England future

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — England captain Steven Gerrard will spend the summer deciding whether to retire from international football after the team's early World Cup elimination.

"It's not right to make a decision now or in a week," the 34-year-old Liverpool midfielder said Sunday. Gerrard has made 113 international appearances, including the 2-1 losses to Italy and Uruguay in Brazil, which led to Roy Hodgson's side failing to qualify for the second round at the World Cup. Gerrard struggled to exert his usual influence in the center in Brazil, noticeably fading against Uruguay and inadvertently flicking the ball on for Liverpool teammate Luis Suarez to score the winner.

"I asked the manager for some time over the summer to consider my future but I certainly won't be rushing into any decision," Gerrard said. "I'm still hurting very bad from what has gone on. So I need to get away and clear my head before I make that decision."

If Gerrard makes his final appearance in the last Group D game against Costa Rica on Tuesday, his international career would end one short of David Beckham's record 115 caps for an England outfield player. Even if Gerrard continued to play in European Championship qualifying, which starts in September, he would be 36 by the time of the tournament in France in 2016.

"It's a difficult time to be an England player at the moment, everyone's hurt, everyone's disappointed," Gerrard said. England's World Cup agony caps a miserable two months for Gerrard. Having inspired Liverpool's unexpected Premier League title charge, the team collapsed to finish second. Liverpool will return to the Champions League next season, which will provide a packed club program for Gerrard and could influence his decision on his England future.

Rob Harris can be followed at www.twitter.com/RobHarris

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