Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 May 2016

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers lauds Steven Gerrard ahead of milestone

By Carl Markham

Published 18/10/2013

Captain fantastic: Brendan Rodgers shares a joke with Steven Gerrard, who he called a 'wonderful ambassador'
Captain fantastic: Brendan Rodgers shares a joke with Steven Gerrard, who he called a 'wonderful ambassador'

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard stands on the verge of a Premier League landmark with manager Brendan Rodgers showering glowing praise on a "remarkable man".

The England skipper needs one goal to chalk up 100 in the Premier League as the campaign resumes this weekend.

He heads to Newcastle in good form having led the national team superbly in their last two World Cup qualifiers, ultimately scoring the second goal late on against Poland which safeguarded their passage to Brazil.

And while Rodgers is the first to admit Gerrard offers so much in terms of his experience and leadership he stressed it his quality should not be forgotten.

"It's remarkable really; you saw him in the game during the week as well," said the Reds boss.

"What gets lost with Steven sometimes is that people talk about him as this great captain and a great leader, and what people forget is that he's still a world-class player.

"He's got big talent. He scored what you would probably say was a typical Gerrard goal the other night – breaking forward with power and pace and just when it looked like it was getting away from him, he reached and got his toe to it with a great finish.

"It's something I've been fully aware of since I've been here. He's probably the best player that I've ever worked with at tempo.

"The quality he can play with when the tempo is really high in a game is incredible.

"I've been fortunate to have worked with world-class players at Chelsea and some brilliant technicians when I was at Swansea.

"He's a remarkable man and a remarkable captain. England should be honoured to have someone like that represent them on and off the field.

"I've said it before and I'll repeat it again – he looks after himself so well and he's so professional and he's still got a number of years left in him yet to turn in great performances."

Gerrard was criticised for being uninspiring by former England international Terry Butcher in midweek.

But the midfielder's leadership skills have always been about deeds rather than words and Rodgers believes Gerrard commands such respect that when he speaks his team-mates are compelled to listen.

Rodgers feels next summer will be Gerrard's international swansong – although the player himself may feel differently – and hopes he can go to Brazil and sign off in style.

"It has been well documented about England and their (lack of) achievements," he said.

"At that level there is no doubt over the last 10 years he has been exceptional in his performances.

"He's won 100-odd caps now and has put himself out there no matter where he is playing.

"I think he probably knows next year will be his last shot and I'm sure he'll be giving everything.

"I know from working closely with him that he's very proud to play for his country.

"I think he has always carried the can here (at Liverpool) for so many years. He is a wonderful ambassador for England.

"He always thinks of others and I think he has been honoured by being given the captaincy and how he has led is a wonderful example for the players there."

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