Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rafa backs Gerrard for PFA Player of the Year

Rafael Benitez has spoken of his admiration for Steven Gerrard and believes his captain would be a worthy recipient of the PFA Player of the Year award.

The Reds skipper has scored 21 goals so far this season and in a chilling warning to opposition defences throughout Europe, his manager claims he can get even better.

Asked if his captain would get his vote as the country's best player this season, Rafa told "Yes. If he can continue playing at this level then why not?

"For me Stevie is one of the best players in the world. To say one is the best above anyone else is difficult because there are a lot of quality players about, but he is one of the best. That is clear.

"He is more mature, he is still learning and tactically he is improving. He can still play better because he has the potential.

"He has quality and always tries to improve in every training session. That is very positive. You know when he is on the pitch you have more options to win.

"I was tempted on Sunday to keep Steven on because he could have scored more goals after his hat-trick but I wanted to give some minutes to another player."

Benitez also believes his role playing just off Fernando Torres has seen his skipper's game rise to even greater heights.

"Changing his position and seeing him play in a different role, I think he has improved a lot.

"He scored 23 goals one year and now he has 21 and can score more before the end of this season, so that is very positive for the team and also for him.

"When Gerrard and Torres are together for us the rest of the team has more confidence. It's good for the rest of the players as they get a lot of confidence when we have those two together on the pitch."

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