Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard - The Sniper - Best Goals - Liverpool 1997-2011

Steven George Gerrard MBE (play; born 30 May 1980 in Whiston, Merseyside, England) is an English footballer who plays for and captains Premier League club Liverpool. He also has 89 caps for the England national team. He has played much of his career in a centre midfielder role, but he has also been used as a second striker and right winger. Gerrard is best known for his tremendous long-range striking ability and has scored in numerous cup finals, including the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final and the 2006 FA Cup Final.
Gerrard, who has spent his entire career at Anfield, made his début in 1998 and cemented his place in the first team in the 2000–01 season, succeeding Sami Hyypiä as Liverpool team captain in 2003. His honours include two FA Cup wins, two League Cup wins, a UEFA Cup win, and a UEFA Champions League win in 2005. In 2005, Gerrard came third in the voting for Ballon d'Or, given to the top player in Europe.
Gerrard made his international debut in 2000 and has represented England at Euro 2000 and Euro 2004, as well as the 2006 World Cup, where he was the team's top goalscorer with two goals. Gerrard is the current vice-captain of the England national football team. However, he captained his country at the 2010 World Cup in the absence of regular captain Rio Ferdinand who missed the tournament through injury.

Gerrard is widely regarded as one of the greatest English footballers ever. Gerrard came second only to Kenny Dalglish in the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop, a Liverpool F.C. fan poll.Zinedine Zidane said in 2009 that he considers Gerrard one of the best footballers in the world. In 2010, The Guardian named Gerrard to their World XI team, which compiled the greatest footballers of all-time onto one squad.
Born in Whiston, Merseyside,Gerrard started out playing for hometown team Whiston Juniors, where he was noticed by Liverpool scouts. He joined the Reds' youth academy at the age of nine. Gerrard then had trials with various clubs at fourteen, but his success wasn't immediate—Gerrard never made it into the England Schoolboys team. Gerrard's trials included Manchester United, which he claimed in his 2006 autobiography was "to pressure Liverpool into giving me a YTS contract." He signed his first professional contract with Liverpool on 5 November 1997.
Gerrard made his Liverpool first-team debut on 29 November 1998 in a match against Blackburn Rovers as a last minute substitute for Vegard Heggem. He made thirteen appearances in his debut season, filling in the midfield position for injured captain Jamie Redknapp and playing on the right wing, but he scarcely contributed in the short on-pitch time he received, due to nervousness affecting his play. Gerrard recalled in a November 2008 interview with The Guardian, "I was out of position and out of my depth." The Liverpool hierarchy nonetheless remained convinced that he would improve. Gerrard saw himself as a defensive player primarily, looking to make key tackles rather than push the team forward.
Gerrard partnered Redknapp in central midfield for the 1999–00 season. After starting the derby match against Everton on the bench, he replaced Robbie Fowler in the second half but received his first career red card for a late foul on Everton's Kevin Campbell. Later that season, Gerrard scored his first senior goal in a 4–1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday. However, he began to suffer from nagging back problems, which sports consultant Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt later diagnosed as a result of accelerated growth, coupled with excessive playing, during his teenage years. He was then beset by groin injuries that required four separate operations.
Gerrard replaced Sami Hyypiä as Liverpool captain in October 2003, as manager Gérard Houllier said that he recognised Gerrard had demonstrated leadership qualities early on, but needed to mature. He chose to extend his contract at the club, signing a new four-year deal

Houllier quit after a trophyless 2003–04 campaign, and Gerrard was linked with a move to Chelsea during the offseason. He admitted he was not "happy with the progress Liverpool has made," and that "for the first time in my career I've thought about the possibility of moving on." In the end, Gerrard turned down a £20 million offer from Chelsea to stay with Liverpool and new coach Rafael Benítez.

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