Steven George Gerrard, MBE (pronounced /ËˆdÊ’É›rÉ‘:d/; born 30 May 1980), is an English footballer who plays for English Premier League club Liverpool and the England national team. He has played much of his career in a central midfield role, however since the arrival of Fernando Torres at Liverpool in 2007 he has been used mainly as a second striker for his team and as a winger for England since 2006.
Gerrard, who has spent his entire career at Anfield, made his debut in 1998 and cemented his place in the first team in the 2000-01 season, succeeding Sami HyypiÃ¤ 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. As of 13 May 2009, Gerrard is also the current holder of the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award.
Gerrard made his international debut 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 placed second in the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop, a Liverpool F.C. fan poll.
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 immediateâ€”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 1999â€“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 4â€“1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday. However, he began to suffer from nagging back problems, which sports consultant Hans-Wilhelm MÃ¼ller-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 2000â€“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 HyypiÃ¤ as Liverpool captain in October 2003, as manager GÃ©rard 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 2003â€“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 Â£20 million offer from Chelsea to stay with Liverpool and new coach Rafael BenÃtez.
Liverpool were wracked with injury early in the 2004â€“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 3â€“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 3â€“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 3â€“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 Â£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 2005â€“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 2006â€“07 Champions League semi-finals to return to their second final in three seasons, which they lost 2â€“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 1â€“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 2006â€“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 3â€“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 4â€“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 4â€“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 5â€“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."
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 1â€“0 win over Germany before England were eliminated in the group stage. Gerrard scored his first international goal in the famous 5â€“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 2 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 5â€“1 at Wembley.
* FA Cup (2): 2000â€“01, 2005â€“06
* League Cup (2): 2000â€“01, 2002â€“03
* FA Community Shield (2): 2001â€“02, 2006â€“07
* UEFA Champions League (1): 2004â€“05
* UEFA Cup (1): 2000â€“01
* UEFA Super Cup (2): 2001â€“02, 2005â€“06
* FA Premier League (2): 2001-02, 2008-09
* League Cup (1): 2004â€“05
* FA Community Shield (1): 2002â€“03
* UEFA Champions League (1): 2006â€“07
* FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2005
* FWA Footballer of the Year: 2008â€“09
* PFA Players' Player of the Year: 2005â€“06
* PFA Young Player of the Year: 2000â€“01
* PFA Fans' Player of the Year: 2000-01, 2008-09
* PFA Team of the Year: 2003â€“04, 2004â€“05, 2005â€“06, 2006â€“07, 2007â€“08, 2008â€“09
* FA Premier League Player of the Month: March 2001, March 2003, December 2004, April 2006, March 2009
* UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 2004â€“05
* UEFA Champions League Final Man of the Match: 2004â€“05
* UEFA Team of the Year: 2005, 2006, 2007
* FIFA/FIFPro World XI: 2007, 2008, 2009
* FA Cup Final Man of the Match: 2005â€“06
* Goal of the Season: 2005-06
* England Player of the Year: 2007
Gerrard has also been nominated on numerous occasions for both the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year Award - generally considered to be the two most prestigious awards in world football.