Sunday 17 December 2017

Steven Gerrard: Don't captain Liverpool 'if you can't handle the low days, when the s*** hits the fan'

Steven Gerrard with Jurgen Klopp
Steven Gerrard with Jurgen Klopp
Jordan Henderson and Jurgen Klopp will be hoping to be smiling again after tonight’s match. Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

David Smith

Steven Gerrard has claimed that you're not fit to wear the armband at Anfield "if you can’t handle the low days, when the s*** hits the fan".

The 35-year-old is just one of 16 former skippers who have been interviewed for a new book called ‘Liverpool Captains’ by Lund Ansnes.

“You need to be thick-skinned to be captain,” Gerrard said.

“Before you accept the responsibility of being captain for Liverpool Football Club you’ve got to tell yourself: "There will be good days and bad days.

“On good days you’ll feel on top of the world. On bad days you’ll feel sad and lonely. If you can’t handle the low days, when the s*** hits the fan and everyone’s out to get you, if you can’t handle those days mentally, don’t take the job.

“Every single day, even when I wasn’t playing badly, I felt that pressure. But I loved it, even on bad days. When we’d had a bad game or if I’d played badly, I used to tell myself: ‘I’m the captain. I need to put this right, and I’ll have another chance to do that in three or four days'.

“I dreamed about wearing the captain’s armband from when I was about 10. So when I got it, I wanted to enjoy it, even on bad days.”

The former England skipper also reserved special praise for Jamie Redknapp, who looked after Gerrard in his younger years.

“Redknapp was my hero. I love him as a guy and I loved him as a player. He went out of his way to help me,” he revealed.

“I was 16 and an apprentice on £47 a week. And he was a national star who played for England and LFC and was vice-captain under Paul Ince.

“Every day he’d call me over and check on me if I was all right, if I had the football boots and the equipment that I needed. And he’d tell me where he was off to after training and ask me to join him. He didn’t have to do that.

“When someone behaves like that to you at 16, it does something important to you. So when I was 26 and I was captain, I’d treat younger players the way Jamie had."

Gerrard was awarded the Liverpool armband in October 2003, and captained the Reds to Champions League glory just over 18 months later in Istanbul.

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