Now is the right time to retire, insists former Liverpool captain and midfielder Steven Gerrard

Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admitted that he didn't want to prolong his career "too long" after announcing his retirement from football on Thursday.

The 36-year-old ended a 19-year playing career, 17 of those years spent with the Reds' first-team, as he decided to hang up his boots following a spell with LA Galaxy that was riddled by injuries.

His time in California only came to an end earlier this month, when the Galaxy were eliminated from the MLS Cup conference semi-finals by Colorado Rapids.

And despite rumours suggesting Gerrard would look to continue his playing career, with clubs across Europe thought to be interested, he decided to retire before his performances become "embarrassing."

Gerrard: I didn't want to overstay my welcome

Speaking exclusively to BT Sport and Gary Lineker, Gerrard spoke about there being "a few reasons" for his decision. He acknowledged that he was "aware" of his time "coming towards the end" as he said "the body starts talking to you" and "the pains and the aches get more regular."

"Over the last couple of years, I've felt myself slowing down a little bit if you like," continued the former England international, who scored 21 goals in 114 caps. "I basically can't deliver what I used to be able to deliver, and that becomes a little bit frustrating as time goes on."

He added that he has taken the advice of "important people in the game" whom he trusts and respects, who recommended he "go with a tiny bit left" and not "overstay your welcome" and "play on too long" so that it "becomes embarrassing."

Gerrard admitted that he feels such a stage is "not too far away" and so "now is the right time" for him to step away.

He declared that there was no "one moment" that made him decide to retire, but more "a period" of time in which he was "getting too many injuries" and didn't feel "as sharp as I used to."

Gerrard added: "Saying that, I've had a few moments in the last six months where I thought 'I didn't play well today' or 'that guy got the better of me' and I don't like saying that to myself. So now's the right time."

Huyton-born Gerrard won eight major trophies in 17 years of playing for Liverpool's first-team, making 710 appearances and scoring 186 goals across a hugely successful career.

His 12-year stretch as skipper also means he is the club's longest-serving captain, and asked what the club means to him, he replied: "The world."

Gerrard said that he supported the club "at a very young age" and revealed that a lot of his family "are Reds", insisting that he has "a lot thank them for" for "the way" the club "shaped me and treated me from a young age" and "turned me into a decent human being and a good footballer."

Gerrard has "dreams and aspirations" of becoming a manager

The former Reds midfielder, who is considered one of the club's best-ever players alongside Kenny Dalglish and Billy Liddell, also added that he is determined to stay involved with the game.

He was offered the vacant managerial role at League One outfit MK Dons last week after talks, but turned the job down as he felt it was too early to get involved straight away.

For the meantime, he will continue working as a pundit for BT and map out his future - which could see him return to Liverpool if certain reports are to be believed.

Asked whether he would prioritise a coaching role or a punditry position, Gerrard said that he would "like to do a bit of both" and that he is "really excited to getting back to work with BT Sport" to "cover the Champions League and Premier League."

But he also said that he "definitely" has "dreams and aspirations" of "having a go at the management [side] or assisting a manager and being back involved in the dressing room."

Gerrard stressed that he has still got "many, many years to do that" and that "the important thing now is to concentrate on BT" and then "gain some experience" in his "spare time around that."

The Telegraph's Sport section reported on Thursday night that Gerrard was closing in on an Anfield return to work within the club's Academy.

The Englishman, currently working towards his UEFA A Licence, has had ongoing talks with his boyhood club and a return looks increasingly imminent.