Steven Gerrard, one of my boyhood heroes, gave me one of the best parts of my life – Football! As a kid, whenever I was on the field, all I had was one aim – to feel like Steven Gerrard – one of the best attacking midfielders & a leader! So here is his autobiography:


Let’s begin with one of the lowest moment of his professional career. To give a context, in 2014, Liverpool was about to end their 24 year wait for the coveted premier league title –

  1. A simple pass rolled towards me near the halfway line. It was a nothing moment, a lull in our surge to the title. I moved to meet the ball. It slid under my foot. The twist came then. I slipped. I fell to the ground. The ball was swept away and the devastating Chelsea attack began. I clambered to my feet and ran with all my heart. I chased Demba Ba as though my life depended on it. I knew the outcome if I couldn’t catch him. But it was hopeless. I couldn’t stop him. Ba scored. It was over. My slip had been costly.
  2. I had done things that would have shocked me as a kid. I had also given absolutely everything of myself to Liverpool FC: in training, in almost 700 games, off the pitch, around the squad and as part of the club, the community and the city. I could not have done any more. I had squeezed out every last ounce of ambition and desire and hope inside me. In the end, it had not been quite enough to help us win the title everyone at Liverpool craved.
  3. I was guilty of obsessing about winning the league. I probably wanted it too much and so I was worried that, after the high of beating City, some of the team might have been thinking, ‘Oh, it’s only Norwich next. We’ll beat them easily.’ I wanted the players to start thinking about Norwich immediately after beating City. Looking back, I can see now that may have been a mistake. Such intensity can sometimes have the reverse effect – especially on the younger players. They can go in a bit edgy, and feel a little scared, whereas you want them going into such a big game feeling confident and as relaxed as possible.
  4. But Steve helped me ask a serious question. If the worst happened, in a football sense, and we didn’t win the league, would my slip be the only reason for our disappointment? I had to admit the truth. Probably not. We had lost games that I didn’t play in. Other players had made mistakes, sometimes more than one. There had also been moments when I had scored late goals, the penalties against Fulham and West Ham were just a few weeks old, and I had won us all three points. Maybe, Steve suggested, Liverpool would not even have been top of the league if I hadn’t played so well all season.

His take on Liverpool FC –

  1. In August 2013, after twenty-five years at Liverpool, from a happy boyhood at the Academy to two years of joy as a YTS apprentice to becoming an ecstatic Champions League-winning captain, I felt the same burning intensity that had consumed me on Ironside Road and at Anfield. I was thirty-three years old but I remained a fan.
  2. The Liverpool anthem reminds you to hold your head up high when you walk through a storm. It reminds you not to be afraid of the dark. It reminds you to walk on through the wind and the rain, though your dreams be tossed and blown, and to walk on with hope in your heart.

Here’s his take on training young talent –

  1. I think it’s a real shame that the Academy kids are so sheltered and kept apart from the first-team squad today. My view is that they should be based at Melwood, just like we were in our first year, so that they can see up close the training regimes Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho go through every day as the new stars of Liverpool. A little bit of that dedication, and magic, can rub off and make the difference to an Academy kid.
  2. The routine at Liverpool is clear. The fourth day before the next game is a strength day – which is all about powering your quads and hamstrings. Then game day minus three will be a resistance day, where the stints are longer and you work on your endurance. Game day minus two focuses on speed, where it’s all about sharp reactions and getting yourself ready for the game. The day before the match, you come back into Melwood and do virtually nothing so you’re ready to fly in the game.

Here’s a sneak peak into Gerrard’s mindset –

  1. ‘If your mates want to go to a nightclub, let them. By the time you’ve finished your career you can buy a club of your own.’ I felt full of regret and, as time passed, I also found it easier and easier to avoid the temptations. It was not difficult to be disciplined because football meant so much to me.
  2. I have always been harsh on myself. That self-criticism and need to improve made me the player I became at my peak. Even in training, deep into my thirties, I’d always try my hardest to be the best player on the pitch. But I could tell I was not quite at my usual level. It had reached the stage where I’d begun to think, ‘I need help.’
  3. When rival fans enjoy pointing out that, over seventeen seasons with Liverpool, I’ve never picked up a league winner’s medal, I keep quiet. But I can say now that there are two major reasons why I didn’t win at least one title with Liverpool: Roman Abramovich at Chelsea and Sheikh Mansour at Manchester City.
  4. Martin Atkinson, my least favourite referee, was waiting. He had given me enough bookings and red cards to last me my whole career. I can’t stand him.
  5. I still didn’t like United, and their shirt is the only one I won’t allow in my house. I have a big collection of shirts I’ve swapped with other players from different clubs – but not one from Manchester United.
  6. A lot of players can make it on talent alone and they’ll earn a good living, but the footballers who have consistency and longevity possess a real passion for the game. They need that at a young age when they can take that love of football and deepen it through discipline and dedication. The talented players willing to sacrifice everything are the ones who go on to become the likes of Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher and John Terry. This has always been my philosophy. I knew if I stayed true to it, the financial rewards would take care of themselves.
  7. The dark and the light, the elation and the misery, belong together. Yes, I felt terrible; but at least I also knew what glory meant. Most people aren’t that lucky. Most people shuttle between more muted experiences their whole lives. Most people aren’t as lucky as I’ve been. I needed to be thankful, and not just tearful.
  8. We all sometimes fall into the trap of believing that we’re better than we are, and we start to dream. There’s no harm in dreaming as long as you temper your dreams with realism.
  9. One of the hazards of being a professional footballer is that, far from feeling like supreme athletes, we often seem a little broken. Our backs ache, our knees hurt, our ankles throb. We break bones, tear muscles, snap ligaments, strain tendons and – well, in my case at least – suffer a lacerated penis.

On different types of personalities he saw on the pitch –

  1. Daniel is one of those people you have to boost sometimes with a ‘C’mon, you’re our main man. We need you – so just go for it.’ You never needed to say that to Luis. It was almost as if Luis was indestructible. I don’t think he ever missed a game through injury at Liverpool. I had seen Luis walk into Liverpool’s treatment room twice; and once was to get a bag of ice before he walked out again. Luis doesn’t really do treatment rooms. I remember him playing against Arsenal with a hamstring injury. That’s the Suárez mentality. Luis Suárez would run through a brick wall for you.
  2. If you could set aside a player’s mentality I would probably choose Balotelli before any current Premier League striker because he’s got all the tools to be the best. Unfortunately, ability means little without the right mentality.

On England not being successful despite “All Stars”

  1. It had become obvious to me that one of the problems undermining so many players when they pull on an England shirt is that they are made heroes of far too quickly. The press, and social media these days, are far too keen to claim some kid is great before they’ve achieved anything of lasting value. It’s bad for the players. They start believing that they’re giants of the game when in fact they’ve done very little.
  2. The ‘golden generation’, as some people liked to describe the era of Owen and Beckham, Scholes and Ferdinand, Lampard and me, and Rooney too, got plenty of stick in the end. But looking back, a couple of quarter-final performances from that crop of players wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t great. But it wasn’t as disastrous as some people now claim. With a bit of luck in penalty shoot-outs that team would have reached the last four of a major tournament and that would have been no small achievement.

On Rafa Benitez

  1. I often get asked to reflect on past managers and, usually, I smile and have a good feeling for virtually all of them. I have so many happy memories. I’ve got some bad ones, too, but that’s to be expected after seventeen years as a professional footballer. It feels special that, apart from one former manager, I can pick up the phone and speak to all but one of them. The exception is Rafa.

On Brendan Rodgers

  1. Brendan came across as a nice man, and a good person, from the start. He also had an immediate understanding of the traditions of the club and showed great respect to everyone connected to Liverpool, from past players to people based at the Academy in Kirkby. But you don’t become the manager of a huge club like Liverpool without having a hard, even ruthless streak. You need to be prepared to make tough decisions that will cause some hurt.

On Jose Mourinho

  1. As a manager, Mourinho has everything. He’s a great tactician and motivator. He coaches well. He buys well. He fights hard for his squad. He helps his players improve. And Chelsea’s impossibly rich owner has always backed him with money and power. Mourinho understood my reasons; but each time he came in for me he was very persuasive. I liked the way he spoke to me and I could see how most of his players were ready to die for him. I remembered him winning the Champions League with Inter Milan and the devastation of his players when he left. You could see it in their faces. I understood how they felt because they had shared such a big moment in their careers together. I never had that with Rafa Benítez. I would have had it with José Mourinho.

On the Power of Fans –

  1. But when a manager is under pressure at Liverpool and the fans turn against him then there is no way back. The fans are very powerful at the club and if they want someone else in, especially if it’s a Liverpool legend like Kenny Dalglish, then you’re a goner.

On Emotions –

  1. Victorious Champions League season – Goals were scored amid deep emotion. At the same time the lowest moments, the defeat against Chelsea and the stamp against Manchester United, were also fuelled by the extreme emotions I experienced during the build-up to both matches.

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