As a Manchester United fan there is not many players from “rival” teams I can honestly say I would like to have seen in a Manchester United shirt, but one player I have always admired is Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard may have 2 or 3 seasons left but ever since he made his debut back in 1998 he has summed up Liverpool’s hard working never say die attitude that makes them a challenging opponent for any side (just ask the AC Milan side from the 2005 Champions League Final or the West Ham United side from the FA Cup final the following year.) A dynamic central midfield player who is as deadly in and around his opponents 18 yard box as he is solid in front of his own. Gerrard’s range of passing is probably surpassed by 5 players in the duration of his career and his reading of the game and fearsome tackle make him a mangers dream. The fact he has been Liverpool captain for 10 years, and an England regular since 2000 (as well as a short stint as captain) also help cement his legacy in the modern era.
The fact that Gerrard has collected numerous accolades on a personal level as well is another testament to his quality as a player and the respect he holds throughout the game. Having been named in FIFA World Team of the Year 3 times, UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, England Player of the Year twice & also came 3rd in the 2005 Ballon d’Or behind Ronaldinho & Chelsea’s Frank Lampard.
Gerrard himself is an unassuming kind of person away from the pitch who has never really been in the public eye for any misbehavior, apart from one or two minor scrapes and this kind of record makes him a model professional. So the key question is how do Liverpool replace him? Yes they have the likes of Couthino & Lucas playing some exceptional football, but do they understand what it means to The Kop when you score a late winner against Manchester United? or Everton? It is highly unlikely and something that also helps cement Gerrard’s place in Liverpool folklore as you could imagine him on the terraces spurring Liverpool on. He is a lad that lives & breathes his city, you cut him open and the red that flows through him is mixed with the liverbird and sounds like The Kop singing You’ll Never Walk Alone. The unfortunate thing is that his time at the top level grows short and as Manchester United have found out with Paul Scholes replacing a legend is no easy feat.