The thing I like best about Steve Gerrard is that he doesn’t appear to rate himself as highly as others, well one-eyed Liverpool fans at least, do.
In a world when useless nonentities past and present like Robbie Savage and Joey Barton promote themselves as expert players and pundits (when the reality is they were/are rubbish at both) it’s quite gratifying to see a pretty decent player act modestly and with great humility.
Gerrard (right) even seemed slightly awkward and embarrassed with all the fuss surrounding his final match at Anfield in a Liverpool shirt last weekend.
Possibly because he knew that his special day would probably be ruined by the ghastly Liverpool side compiled by over-rated (in fact I would go as far as to say out-of-his depth) Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.
I mean his team-mates and boss had already ruined what Kop-ites, as well as the media, had hoped would be a fairy-tale ending of Gerrard lifting the FA Cup before departing to play exhibition football with a load of other has-beens in the United States.
Still Gerrard’s career has hardly been punctuated with regular club success so he has taken this season’s failures in his stride and the fact that he has stayed loyal to one club rather than move to a team with a chance of winning the Premier League is, I believe, a great credit to him.
In a sport where players happily move clubs for an extra fiver at United Counties League level, Gerrard should be applauded for sticking with Liverpool through some pretty ordinary seasons under some pretty clueless managers.
He deserved the plaudits for transforming the European Champions League final of 2005 and for rescuing the FA Cup Final of 2006, but his loyalty and his failure to impact many international matches against the better nations stops me ranking him as one of the best Premier League players of all time, as that other top judge Sir Alex Ferguson once famously remarked.
That other great leader of men Winston Churchill once noted that Clement Atlee was ‘a modest man with plenty to be modest about’ and that applies to Gerrard.
Typically Gerrard rated his own England career as average. He wasn’t good enough to adapt to playing with Frank Lampard just as Lampard wasn’t good enough to adapt to Gerrard, a problem that more than one national boss couldn’t solve.
Gerrard deserves a comfortable retirement in the Los Angeles sunshine, but his departure will do nothing to ease the gloom over Anfield.
Rodgers has tried to find a replacement for Gerrard while his club captain was still at Anfield, but failed miserably.
Should Liverpool fans now expect Rodgers to come up with a star playing substitute as well as a squad leader this summer?
Of course not. The transfer record of Liverpool under Rodgers is appalling. They need a complete clean sweep.