Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Captain Fantastic

The first time we saw Steven Gerrard played for Liverpool's first eleven was on the 29th of November 1998 against Blackburn Rovers at Anfield. It was a last minute substitution by Gerard Houllier for Vegard Heggem and upon coming in, Steven Gerrard played the role of a winger. The game ended in a 2-0 win with goals from Paul Ince and Micheal Owen, both scored in the first half.

In his debut season Steven Gerrard made 13 appearances and scored no goals, coming in to replace Jamie Redknapp who was injured. Regularly he was playing out of position, defensive at midfield or putting in crosses from right wing. Steven Gerrard was an unknown then, well to the rest of the world at least. He was also not selected to represent England youth even though he excelled in Liverpool's youth squad. His entrance at the tender age of 18 into the EPL scene was, I would say, average at best. Nothing exciting.

How things have changed. Fourteen years on, at the age of 32, Steven Gerrard is regarded as one of the best England midfielder ever if not the world. He is quick, skillful, good at passing with excellent long range shooting ability and most importantly has legendary leadership quality.

He won everything with Liverpool FC except the English premier league title and world club cup honours. He is talismanic in play and Liverpool without Steven Gerrard is like a ship without its sail.

Yes, in life nothing last forever and with injuries getting a bit more regular with every season, we can see that Steven Gerrard is at the twilight of his career. Yet he still leads the team very well by showing eagerness in tackles and determination in making forward runs but eventually the limelight will fade. I trust Steven Gerrard still has another 2 more seasons in the bag before he calls it quit hence there is ample time for Liverpool to seek a "padawan learner" as his understudy.

What will happen after Steven Gerrard? Is there a replacement for such an iconic figure? Can Jordan Henderson do it? I doubt it. He may become Liverpools future captain but he can never replicate Steven Gerrard's footballing skills in the middle of the park. Only time will tell.

By the way, happy birthday captain fantastic.

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