Belfast Telegraph

There is no substitute for starting, insists departing Liverpool captain Stevie Gerrard

By Carl Markham

Departing Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admits the "buzz" of playing changed when he learned he was to have a restricted role and that was when he decided to sever ties with his boyhood club.

The midfielder, who turns 35 later this month, retired from England duty last July in order to extend his lifespan at club level, but early in the season he discovered he would no longer be a regular starter under manager Brendan Rodgers.

That proved to be a major factor in him opting to move to Los Angeles Galaxy at the end of the campaign.

"I think the signs this year were that I'm going to become a squad player, play less," said Gerrard.

"I'm going to come on as a sub and the buzz changes.

"For me, I go to work on a Monday morning and I look forward to Saturday, to prepare to go to battle and that's my buzz.

"When a manager says that's going to change and it's going to become more limited, that's when you make your decision.

"It's not a selfish thing; coming on as a sub's just not the same buzz so things have changed this year."

Gerrard, who has carried the burden of leading Liverpool over the last decade, spoke of how he is looking forward to not having as much pressure on his shoulders in Major League Soccer.

Despite his vast achievements for the club he has been associated with since joining their academy at the age of nine he will find a life of relative anonymity in the United States.

"It lets you give a little back to your family," he added.

"You step out of the city, you breathe for a bit, you enjoy your kids and you go to a place where you are going to enjoy it.

"I think the league's going to be good, I can still start games and I can still enjoy it."

Gerrard will not be the only one to leave this summer.

Full-back Glen Johnson has not been offered a new deal while fellow defender Kolo Toure and goalkeeper Brad Jones also have contracts which expire this summer.

Belfast Telegraph


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