England boss Roy Hodgson has not given up on Steven Gerrard extending his international career beyond next summer's World Cup.
Gerrard has indicated Brazil 2014 will mark the end of his time with England, which is why he is so keen to get there.
However, in assessing the 33-year-old's contribution to the midweek draw in Ukraine which Hodgson insists was a positive addition to England's Group H campaign, the national manager was left in no doubt Gerrard could continue into next season should he so wish.
And he is certainly not being put off by talk of Gerrard's international retirement plans.
"It is easy for players to talk about retiring in a year's time," said Hodgson.
"I have fallen into that trap myself on several occasions. When the time rolls around you realise you don't actually want it.
"Let's wait and see with Steven. I know he gives these interviews and people write these things but I just bat them off.
"The most important thing is for England to be at the World Cup. Then I am rather hoping Gerrard, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard will still be available.
"If afterwards, for some reason, they aren't, we will re-assess."
This week, Hodgson opted to deploy Gerrard in a slightly deeper midfield role, where he was able to control the games against Moldova and Ukraine and, in theory, allow Jack Wilshere and Frank Lampard more freedom offensively.
As it turned out, England did not quite benefit in the manner Hodgson imagined. Nevertheless, the 66-year-old is convinced it is the role Gerrard is best suited to.
"I have always, to some extent, questioned Steven as an out-and-out attacking player because he has such energy," said Hodgson.
"He really is a box-to-box player so if you take him away from the build up from the back, sometimes you are not getting the best out of him.
"I thought that when I was at Liverpool. I made that decision then."
Gerrard's performance in Kiev was overshadowed by those of Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka.
Indeed, after spending so much of his reign discussing controversies surrounding John Terry and Rio Ferdinand, it is a blessed relief for Hodgson to have another central defender to talk about.
"My year and a bit has been about two outstanding footballers, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand," said Hodgson.
"People have questioned whether the alternatives I do have available could reach their level.
"They have grown into the role. I would say if Gary and Phil could continue what they are doing at the moment in years to come you might be talking about them in the same way as you have been talking about John and Rio.
"I was happy with them against Moldova, where they had to take a lot of responsibility and make an awful lot of passes and I was happy with them against Ukraine because they were up against a very dangerous front three."
And so Hodgson is left in limbo for a month, crossing his fingers key men either stay fit or return to fitness head of the final two qualifiers, against Montenegro and Poland, which will determine whether they gain an automatic place in Brazil.
The coach is confident. But then, he sometimes wonders if he is watching the same game as everyone else.
"I don't honestly know how people who watch the game can make some of the criticism I am listening to," he said.
"I see it from a purely football point of view but there must be something I don't understand."