Steven Gerrard: ‘I disagree with Liverpool’s youth-only policy’
There is still a place for a wise, older head at Brendan Rodgers’s Liverpool as Steven Gerrard has shown by appearing in every minute of every Premier League game this season. The manager has spoken of securing the 32-year-old’s enduring influence on a best price canada goose jacket outlet usa online store new contract too. Ever present, in demand and captain for club and country; yet he is nagged by the suspicion that experience is not truly appreciated at Anfield and beyond.
Gerrard may find reassurance on Sunday at Old Trafford, where Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are pursuing another league title at 39 and 38 respectively, though dwelling on success at Manchester United brings little comfort to a Liverpool captain from Huyton. Frank Lampard’s invitation to a free transfer at Chelsea merely prompts bewilderment. Closer to home it is not simply the passage of time and an inclination to grasp responsibility that has taken Gerrard into the elder statesman category at Anfield but the transfer policy of the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group.
FSG, understandably scarred by excesses under Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli, refused Rodgers the £6m signing of Clint Dempsey in August largely on account of the then Fulham player’s age, 29, and lack of resale value. The oldest player Liverpool have paid a transfer fee for in over 12 months is Oussama Assaidi, who arrived from Heerenveen two days after his 24th birthday. Fabio Borini was signed at 21, Joe Allen at 22, Samed Yesil at 18 and Daniel Sturridge at 23. The strategy suits the appointment of a coach with Rodgers’ background in youth development and represents FSG’s intention for a fresh can you wash a canada goose jacket in the washer start. Their own captain, however, is unconvinced.
“I disagree with the policy to be honest,” Gerrard says. “I’ve seen many signings throughout the world who have gone to clubs at the age of 28, 29 or even older and done fantastic jobs. Gary McAllister when he came here, for one. The main example at the moment is, if Chelsea don’t keep Frank Lampard and another big club comes in and gets him and he produces top attacking midfield performances for the next two years. Someone is going to get a bargain. What is he, 34?
“I can understand the policy that best place to buy a canada goose jacket in toronto everyone wants young, bright, British players. I can understand it but I don’t agree 100% that that should be the only way. I think you’ve got to add experience to young gifted players as well because in this league and click more at this level you need experience. I learned bucket loads from Gary McAllister. I look at Aston Villa now and the majority of them are best canada goose jacket for women going to be fantastic players in time but in my opinion that team needs two or three old heads to guide them. Stilian Petrov is a big miss amazon canada goose jacket for them. To be successful at this level you need to get the mix right.”
Gerrard makes a point of stressing that this is not a personal plea for a new deal. Rodgers is amazon canada goose jacket making the right noises in that regard and the midfielder has 18 months left on his contract, though he will be 34 when that expires and 34-year-old Jamie Carragher has not been offered an extension beyond this season. “The manager has told me he wants me around for a long time so I suppose it is different at the moment,” he says. “I think I can play another three or four years. I’m not saying I want a contract for that length, nothing of the sort, but nothing has been spoken of yet.
“It is not my business what Chelsea do but, if they don’t renew Frank’s contract, someone else is going to get a really good player for a few years. Once your Terrys and your Lampards are gone I think they’ll be appreciated even more. That’s the way football is. It’s a bit similar at United when Scholes and Giggs eventually move on. That’s the reason Alex Ferguson is holding on to them. If someone of his calibre -– someone who’s achieved what he has in the game and with his knowledge – knows how important it is to keep those players it tells you how important experience and top pros are.”
The importance of the old guard is reflected in United’s position at the top of the Premier League, 21 points above the club that Ferguson insists remain his greatest rivals. Gerrard believes Liverpool’s season would have been transformed had they won a controversial encounter at Anfield in September, when Jonjo Shelvey collected an early red card and Robin van Persie won the game for United with a disputed late penalty. He is also adamant Liverpool are progressing under Rodgers. But to enter Old Trafford that far adrift pains Gerrard as deeply as any Liverpool supporter.
“Losing at Old Trafford and Goodison is the worst, although I never lose at Goodison!” says Gerrard, whose last appearance at United in a game refereed by Howard Webb, as this one will be, ended in a red card after 32 minutes. “We are not on the level of City and United. The table is evidence of that. But I don’t think we’re a million miles away. We’re eighth in the league buy canada goose coat uk and it’s not good enough. To be eighth and see United flying high again, of course it hurts. But what can you do? You have to keep fighting and try to catch them. Everyone knows we’re behind. What we can do to get up to their level is bring in better players too.
“We were very unfortunate not to beat United earlier in the season because we were in complete control even when we went down to 10 men. If we’d won that game we’d have got a lot of momentum from it. We’re underdogs in this game. There’s no pressure on us because United are expected to beat us and beat us well. They probably have the best player in the league on current form, they’ve not lost at home for a long time, so all pressure’s on them because they’re massive favourites.”
Gerrard’s choice of the Premier League’s finest player reinforces his belief in not only keeping experience but purchasing it. Van Persie, like Dempsey, is also 29 but that did not deter United from can you pick the most expensive canada goose parka paying £24m for the striker in their quest to reclaim the title from their neighbours. In Luis Suárez, however, Liverpool have their own outstanding forward, one Gerrard believes shares this season’s accolades with Van Persie.
“Michu’s surprised a few and he’s flying but I think Luis and Van Persie are the two hottest centre-forwards in the league by a long way,” he says. “Van Persie has done it for years at Arsenal, he’s a top player. I love watching him but Luis is the best centre-forward I’ve played with. He probably won’t get the credit he deserves after everything that’s happened and everything he’s been through but he will from me. Imagine being a defender marking him. He can score fantastic goals, tap-ins, if he gets you in the box you’re in trouble, he’s a fighter and he’s a winner. He doesn’t like losing even best ideas about canada goose parka on pinterest in training. He ticks every box for me.”
Which leads neatly into the latest controversy to involve the Uruguay international; his handball in scoring the winner against Mansfield Town in the FA Cup last Sunday and the outrage that followed. Gerrard is asked to imagine a similar predicament against United. It is the last minute at Old Trafford and he scores the winning goal using a hand. What would he do?
“I celebrate,” he says. “I’m not going to lie and say I would run to the linesman or referee and say I’ve handballed it at Old Trafford. What would Wayne Rooney do? What did [goalkeeper] Roy Carroll do all those years ago when the ball was four yards over the line? I didn’t see Alex Ferguson or Roy Carroll run to the referee or linesman and say it was over, did you?
“That’s football. These things happen. You don’t go best ideas about canada goose parka on pinterest out to intentionally handball and I don’t think Luis did it intentionally. You could tell by the way he kicked the ball into the net that he was waiting for the referee to blow up. I’m not saying it’s right but have Mansfield never had a bit of luck or an incorrect decision go their way? Put it this way, I don’t think as big a deal would have been made of it had it been Daniel Sturridge.”