Belfast Telegraph

Stevie Gerrard set to embrace the trail blazed by David Beckham

By Carl Markham

The Los Angeles Galaxy learned a valuable lesson from Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard's past in telling him "what he wanted to hear" in their aggressive pursuit of the midfielder.

The 34-year-old will leave Anfield at the end of this season after confirming he will be joining the reigning Major League Soccer champions in the summer.

Both Gerrard and Galaxy themselves describe the recruitment process as "aggressive", which is in stark contrast to the way Liverpool handled his contract negotiations.

The midfielder admits had the Reds offered him a new contract last summer he would not be bringing an end to an association which stretches back to when he was eight years old.

But an extension to his existing deal was not raised with the player until November - after Gerrard had expressed his surprise that no talks had been forthcoming - by which time he had already been told by Brendan Rodgers his playing time would be managed.

"Their (the Galaxy's) pursuing me was very aggressive," Gerrard said. "The talks I've had with them have been very positive, they basically told me what I wanted to hear, told me about the winning mentality of the club, what their goals are for the future.

"Having spoken to the manager Bruce Arena and the people above him they are very aggressive and they want success and that is what I want and that is how I want to finish my career.

"I'd like to think I've got the same attitude as the people who have made this signing happen - the manager, the CEO and the owner, they like to see themselves as winners."

President Chris Klein - helped by the backing of owner Philip Anschutz - said they went in hard in their targeting of Gerrard.

"The LA Galaxy continue to compete for championships and strive for unparalleled success each year, and signing Steven is another example of Mr Anschutz's continued commitment to the growth of soccer in Los Angeles and North America," he said.

"We were aggressive in our pursuit of Steven and look forward to his contributions to our club both on and off the field."

Gerrard admits he hopes the move will also be beneficial to his family.

"Football is my life and it will continue to be so for the next couple of years," he said.

"There is also a huge bonus involved in terms of where they (Galaxy) are located, that will be nice for my family also.

"The biggest challenge will be settling in. I've lived in Liverpool all my life and am a Scouser through and through. But you only get one life and it is important to try different things."

Meanwhile, Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers cannot wait to work alongside his new team-mate.

"I think he's at a point in his career where he wants to try something new," the United States international said.

"Of course, I don't want to speak for him, but this obviously is the biggest club in the United States.

"Like David (Beckham), or like Robbie Keane, I think those guys wanted to experience something totally different. We're excited to have him."

Belfast Telegraph


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