Gerrard, who has spent his entire career at Anfield, made his début in 1998 and cemented his place in the first team in the 2000–01 season, succeeding Sami Hyypiä as Liverpool team captain in 2003. His honours include two FA Cup wins, two League Cup wins, a UEFA Cup win, and a UEFA Champions League win in 2005. In 2005, Gerrard came third in the voting for Ballon d'Or, given to the top player in Europe. Gerrard made his international début in 2000, and represented England in the UEFA European Championships in 2000 and 2004 as well as the 2006 FIFA World Cup, where he was the team's top goalscorer with two goals. Gerrard is the current vice-captain of the England national football team. However, he captained his country at the 2010 World Cup in the absence of regular captain Rio Ferdinand who missed the tournament through injury. Gerrard came second in the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop, a Liverpool F.C. fan poll.
Club career Edit
Born in Whiston, Merseyside Gerrard started out playing for hometown team Whiston Juniors, where he was noticed by Liverpool scouts. He joined the Reds' youth academy at the age of nine. Gerrard then had trials with various clubs at fourteen, but his success wasn't immediate—Gerrard never made it into the England Schoolboys team. Gerrard's trials included Manchester United, which he claimed in his 2006 autobiography was "to pressure Liverpool into giving me a YTS contract." He signed his first professional contract with Liverpool on 5 November 1997. Gerrard made his Liverpool first-team debut on 29 November 1998 in a match against Blackburn Rovers as a last minute substitute for Vegard Heggem. He made thirteen appearances in his debut season, filling in the midfield position for injured captain Jamie Redknapp and playing on the right wing, but he scarcely contributed in the short on-pitch time he received, due to nervousness affecting his play. Gerrard recalled in a November 2008 interview with The Guardian, "I was out of position and out of my depth." The Liverpool hierarchy nonetheless remained convinced that he would improve. Gerrard saw himself as a defensive player primarily, looking to make key tackles rather than push the team forward.
Gerrard partnered Redknapp in central midfield for the 1999–00 season. After starting the derby match against Everton on the bench, he replaced Robbie Fowler in the second half but received his first career red card for a late foul on Everton's Kevin Campbell. Later that season, Gerrard scored his first senior goal in a 4–1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday. However, he began to suffer from nagging back problems, which sports consultant Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt later diagnosed as a result of accelerated growth, coupled with excessive playing, during his teenage years. He was then beset by groin injuries that required four separate operations. In 2000–01, he made fifty starts in all competitions and scored ten goals as Liverpool won the League Cup, FA Cup, and the 2001 UEFA Cup. Gerrard replaced Sami Hyypiä as Liverpool captain in October 2003, as manager Gérard Houllier said that he recognised Gerrard had demonstrated leadership qualities early on, but needed to mature. He chose to extend his contract at the club, signing a new four-year deal. Houllier quit after a trophyless 2003–04 campaign, and Gerrard was linked with a move to Chelsea during the offseason. He admitted he was not "happy with the progress Liverpool has made," and that "for the first time in my career I've thought about the possibility of moving on." In the end, Gerrard turned down a £20 million offer from Chelsea to stay with Liverpool and new coach Rafael Benítez.
Gerrard shooting for Liverpool Liverpool were wracked with injury early in the 2004–05 season, and a foot injury suffered in a September league match against Manchester United shelved Gerrard until late November. He returned to score in the last five minutes of a Champions League group stage match against Olympiacos to secure Liverpool's advancement to the knockout round. He claimed that this was his most important, if not his best, goal for Liverpool to date.However, Gerrard netted an own goal during the 2005 League Cup final on 27 February, which proved decisive in Liverpool's 3–2 loss to Chelsea. During a six-minute stretch in the second half of the 2005 Champions League final against A.C. Milan, Liverpool rebounded from a three-goal deficit to tie the match at 3–3 after extra time, with Gerrard scoring one of the goals. Liverpool's third goal was gained as a penalty from a foul awarded to Liverpool when Gennaro Gattuso fouled Gerrard in Milan's penalty box. Gerrard did not participate in the penalty shootout, which Liverpool won 3–2 as they claimed their first CL trophy in twenty years, though he was named the Man of the Match, and later received the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award. In regards to his contract issues with Liverpool, Gerrard told the press after the final, "How can I leave after a night like this?" But negotiations soon stalled and on 5 July 2005, after Liverpool turned down another lucrative offer from Chelsea, Gerrard rejected a club-record £100,000-a-week offer. Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry conceded the club had lost Gerrard, saying, "Now we have to move on. We have done our best, but he has made it clear he wants to go and I think it looks pretty final." The next day, Gerrard signed a new four-year deal as Parry blamed the earlier breakdown of talks on miscommunication between the two sides. Gerrard scored twenty-three goals in 53 appearances in 2005–06, and in April became the first Liverpool player since John Barnes in 1988 to be voted the PFA Player of the Year. He scored twice in the 2006 FA Cup final against West Ham United, including an equalizer that sent the match into extra time, and Liverpool won their second consecutive major trophy on penalties. The goals made him the only player to have scored in the FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup and Champions League finals. Gerrard netted a penalty as Liverpool eliminated league rival Chelsea in the 2006–07 Champions League semi-finals to return to their second final in three seasons, which they lost 2–1 to Milan. Gerrard suffered a hairline toe fracture in an August 2007 Champions League qualifier against Toulouse F.C., but returned four days later to play the entirety of a 1–1 league draw against Chelsea. On 28 October 2007, Gerrard played his 400th game for Liverpool in a league match against Arsenal, in which he scored. He scored in all but one of Liverpool's domestic and European matches during the month of November, and after scoring the only goal in a Champions League away tie against Olympique de Marseille on 11 December, he became the first Liverpool player since John Aldridge in 1989 to score in seven consecutive games in all competitions. He made his 300th Premier League appearance on 13 April 2008 in a match against Blackburn Rovers, scoring the opening goal, and finished the season with twenty-two league goals, surpassing his total from the 2006–07 season. Gerrard was selected for the PFA Team of the Year and he was also one of the nominees or the PFA Player of the Year, alongside teammate Fernando Torres. Gerrard needed to undergo groin surgery at the beginning of the season, but the problem was not serious and he quickly returned to training. He scored what appeared to be his hundredth career Liverpool goal against Stoke City on 20 September, but it was disallowed after Dirk Kuyt was ruled offside. He achieved the milestone eleven days later in a 3–1 Champions League group stage win over PSV. He made his 100th appearance in European club competition for Liverpool on 10 March 2009 against Real Madrid and scored twice in a 4–0 win. Four days after the impressive victory over Real, Gerrard would score at Old Trafford for the first time from the penalty spot, putting Liverpool ahead on their way to a 4–1 victory over Manchester United. Following these results, three-time FIFA World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane hailed the Liverpool skipper, saying "Is he the best in the world? He might not get the attention of Messi and Ronaldo but yes, I think he might be." On 22 March 2009, Gerrard scored his first ever hat-trick in the Premier League, against Aston Villa, in a 5–0 victory. On 13 May 2009, Gerrard was named as the 2009 Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year, becoming the first Liverpool player to win the award in nineteen years. Gerrard had pipped Manchester United duo Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney in the poll voted for by journalists, beating Ryan Giggs by just 10 votes. Upon receiving the award, he was quoted as saying "I'm delighted but I'm a little bit surprised," he commented. "When you look at the quality of the players there are in this league, it's a great privilege to win this kind of award." After the 2009-10 season, Rafael Benitez departed from Liverpool after six years and was succeeded as manager by Roy Hodgson, who has since assured fans that Gerrard will not be sold.
International career Edit
Gerrard made his international debut against Ukraine on 31 May 2000. That summer, he was called up for Euro 2000, making only one appearance as a substitute in a 1–0 win over Germany before England were eliminated in the group stage. Gerrard scored his first international goal in the famous 5–1 victory over Germany in a 2002 World Cup qualifier in September 2001, and while England qualified, Gerrard was forced to pull out of the squad due to his ongoing groin problems after pulling up in Liverpool's final match of the season against Ipswich. He was a regular starter in Euro 2004, scoring once – against Switzerland – before England were eliminated by Portugal in the quarter-finals on penalties. He participated in his first World Cup in 2006 and two goals, both in the group stage, against Trinidad & Tobago and Sweden, although his spot kick was one of three saved by goalkeeper Ricardo as England again bowed out to Portugal in the quarter-finals on penalties. He was England's top scorer in the tournament. Gerrard was made vice-captain of the England team by coach Steve McClaren, and while he filled in for John Terry as captain, England suffered back-to-back losses to Russia and Croatia that ended their Euro 2008 qualifying hopes. After new coach Fabio Capello took over the team in early 2008, Gerrard was given a trial run as captain but Capello settled on Terry for the role. Gerrard was subsequently replaced as England vice-captain by Rio Ferdinand. Gerrard further increased his international goal tally as he helped England qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup when he scored two goals as England defeated Croatia 5–1 at Wembley. John Terry was replaced by Rio Ferdinand as captain in 2010, following revelations about the former's private life, and Gerrard subsequently became vice-captain again. When the England team left for the 2010 World Cup, Gerrard was the most experienced player in the squad with 80 caps. During preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, however, Rio Ferdinand was injured, meaning that Gerrard was appointed by Capello as captain for the tournament. After the tournament Gerrard, part of a group of England players dubbed the "Golden Generation", confirmed that he would continue to be available for selection, despite suggestions from Capello that he would seek to re-build the team.
Personal life Edit
Gerrard and his wife, fashion journalist Alex Curran, married at the Cliveden mansion in Buckinghamshire on 16 June 2007. He has an older brother, Paul (not to be confused with former Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard), and his cousin Anthony plays for Cardiff City F.C.. Steven and Alex have two daughters, Lilly-Ella (born 23 February 2004) and Lexie (9 May 2006). In September 2006, Gerrard published his autobiography, Gerrard: My Autobiography, ghost-written by journalist Henry Winter, which went on to win the Sports Book of the Year honour at the British Book Awards. The autobiography ends with "I play for Jon-Paul." Gerrard's ten-year-old cousin, Jon-Paul Gilhooley, was killed in the 1989 Hillsborough Tragedy, when Gerrard was almost 9. "It was difficult knowing one of your cousins had lost his life," Gerrard said. "Seeing his family's reaction drove me on to become the player I am today." On 1 October 2007, Gerrard was involved in a low-speed accident in Southport when the car he was driving hit a ten-year-old bicyclist, who had shot into the street and inadvertently cut off Gerrard's path. He later visited the boy in the hospital and presented him with a pair of boots signed by the boy's favourite player, Wayne Rooney, after which he stayed to sign autographs for other young patients. Councillors of Knowsley voted to make Gerrard a Freeman of the Borough on 13 December 2007, and two weeks later, he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire by The Queen in The Queen's New Year Honours List, for services to sport. He received an honorary fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University on 26 July 2008 as recognition for his contribution to sport. On 29 December 2008, Gerrard was taken into custody outside the Lounge Inn in Southport on suspicion of a section 20 assault. He and two others were later charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray, relating to an incident which left the bar's disc jockey with a broken tooth and cuts to his forehead. The three men were given police to court bail and were required to appear at North Sefton Magistrates' Court on 23 January 2009, where they all pleaded not guilty. The case was adjourned until 20 March when the assault charge was dropped but Gerrard was required to attend Liverpool Crown Court to face trial for affray. On 3 April, Gerrard pleaded not guilty. The case went to trial in Liverpool Crown Court. Gerrard's co-defendants pleaded guilty before the trial but Gerrard maintained his innocence. Gerrard admitted hitting Marcus McGee but claimed it was in self defence and on July 24, Gerrard was found not guilty by the jury. Following the verdict, Gerrard said he was looking forward to getting back to playing football and putting the experience behind him.
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