Paul Scholes: Stevie Gerrard could still change his mind... like I did
I have said before that Steven Gerrard should still be good for another two seasons at Liverpool.
That he has decided to leave in the summer will have been a difficult call.
The hardest part is deciding when to do it. You ask yourself the question: do I still have the legs to carry on at this level or am I going to end up playing 15-25 games a season, and become a bit of a museum piece?
I went through it myself and retired too early the first time. My preference was to play for Manchester United or no one else.
I never wanted to play for any other club, whether that was in the United States or elsewhere but I can see the attraction for Gerrard.
I always thought he would stay at Liverpool and then move on to the coaching staff in the same way that Ryan Giggs has at United.
I am sure that the lifestyle in the US, or at another European club, will be an attraction. Gerrard would make a big impact in America.
That said, there is still a long way to go in the season and he will be surprised what might change over the course of the next few months, however much he feels he has made his mind up.
He has been one of the best players of the last 20 years, there is no doubt about that.
A player of his standing should have at least one league title to his name and although Liverpool have challenged in certain seasons — under Gérard Houllier, Rafa Benitez and Brendan Rodgers — there has never been a sustained period where they have looked like becoming champions.
It is difficult for me, as a United fan, to say it is a pity that Gerrard has never won the league. It is easier to say he deserves to have a league winners’ medal.
If there was a time to leave Liverpool and join another club, he should have gone to Chelsea when they tried to sign him for the second time after he won the Champions League in 2005.
It always looked like Chelsea would win the league more than once.
There are those that say it would have been worth less with Chelsea. I disagree. Moving clubs is a part of football. I was lucky that my club were strong enough that I could fulfil my ambitions there.
But when you win a trophy it means the same, whether they are the club you began your career with or one you joined for £30m.
I wonder if part of his decision to leave Liverpool now was that, compared to last season, the club look much further away from that next league title.
It would be much more difficult to walk away from the Liverpool team as it was in the second half of last season, than the Liverpool team as it is now.
Belfast Telegraph Digital