STEVEN Gerrard is considering a contract offer from Liverpool, who want to keep him at Anfield beyond the end of this season, when his existing deal expires.

At 34, does he carry on for another season or call it time on his illustrious career?

He is still an amazing player and would walk into most teams in Europe, let alone the Premier League, but are his star qualities diminishing slowly before our eyes?

Obviously he is not going to be the same player he was at 25 or 26, but the 2014 version of Steven Gerrard is still one hell of a player.

So why not finish now before we see some average player dominating him in midfield?

He has already this season, fairly or unfairly, come in for criticism, as people hold him responsible for Liverpool’s poor form.

Knowing when is right to call it a day is not something sports stars tend to do very well.

Years are spent building up reputations, which can be tarnished by hanging around too long.

One name that always springs to mind is Muhammad Ali.

He was arguably the greatest ever boxer, but never knew when to call it a day.

It probably didn’t cloud people’s opinion about him being the best, but it did leave horrible visions of him being a shadow of his once-great self.

There are a few exceptions to the rule – Steffi Graf, Lennox Lewis and Joe Calzaghe are names that immediately spring to mind.

All three of them retired at the top of their game.

Oxford Mail:

  • Joe Calzaghe (right) bowed out undefeated

Ultimately, the decision lies with yourself, even though you ask advice and opinions from your circle of trust.

I spoke to family and close friends, but also to ex-pros, as they had been there and done it.

Every former player I consulted, including good friend and Arsenal legend Ian Wright, told me to play for as long as you can.

I believe that to be true; you do need to get it all out of your system and leave the game with no regrets.

When players thinking about retiring ask me now, I advise them to stay for as long as you still love playing.

I believe if Gerrard agrees to play on after this season a love of playing will be one of two reasons behind the decision.

The other one isn’t money or fame, which have never been motivations for him.

I think the only other factor is a burning desire to win the one thing which has eluded him his entire club career – the Premier League title.

If the contract offer had come at the end of last season I’m sure Gerrard would have signed it immediately.

But the fact they have gone backwards after getting so close will be deep in his thoughts.

I’m sure he will also be considering his health and the needs of his family; I certainly did.

Steven Gerrard could retire tomorrow and he will be remembered as one of the best players this country has produced.

Whatever his decision, he is a true legend and I am glad to have played against someone with such a status.

I hope he makes the right decision for Steven Gerrard.

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