Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gerrard the greatest ever in Liverpool history

Fernando Torres hailed Steven Gerrard the ‘greatest player in the world’ and insists: Liverpool would be lost without him.

He believes their inspirational skipper is ‘irreplaceable’ and has vowed to help land him a long overdue first ever Premiership winners medal - and the World Player of the Year Award.

Torres insists Gerrard is the heartbeat of the club and the key factor behind their European and domestic ambitions.

He said: “He is without doubt the greatest player I have ever played with. He has everything.

“At Liverpool, he is irreplaceable. Every big club has a standard bearer, a home-grown talent, someone with a lifelong commitment to the cause.

“People come and go but he’s always there. It’s him and ten others. He’s everything to the side. That’s Steven Gerrard at Liverpool. I can’t even begin to imagine the place without him.

“He’s got it all as a footballer too: personality, consistency, stature, control, power, strength, aggression, intensity, he never goes missing... he can play everywhere and he can play in every way. Wherever you put him, he performs. He scores goals, works hard, he’s quick, he’s tireless. He’s a born leader and the most consistent player in the world.

“The only thing missing from CV is the Premier League title and an international award like the Ballon d’Or or the FIFA World Player and I’m sure he’ll win one of those soon. There’s no doubt he deserves to. Any coach would want him in their side. “

Torres is the new Kop idol but he believes Gerrard will eventually be recognised as Liverpool’s greatest ever player – and he claims he models himself on the captain.

He revealed his admiration for Gerrard in his autobiography, ‘Torres: El Nino’ serialised this week by The Mirror.

Torres adds: “One day he’ll be recognised as one of the greatest players in the club’s history. And don’t forget, he’s Liverpool through and through too: a local lad who came up through the ranks. That fact makes his achievements all the more impressive to me. For any Scouser to get into the Liverpool first team is extremely difficult.

“Youth teamers learn from the first team players whom they look up to; they get immersed in the values of the clubs and the footballers who represent it over the years. Maybe that’s why Steve and Carra haven’t had to tell me what Liverpool stands for; I can see it in their game.

“Steve doesn’t need to scream and shout on the pitch to be a leader. He leads by example, by the way he plays – the way he’s had bred into him for years.

“Our captains are symbols of the club; they supported the team as kids, they sweated for the cause for years in the Academy, fighting to make it, they’ve put up with the pressure of playing for their future with the Reserves, they’ve made it to the first team and worn the armband at Anfield.

“I have tried to absorb everything I can from the club and the city, to understand exactly where I am and that’s because of them. If there is one thing that inspires me about (Jamie) Carragher and Gerrard, one thing that stands out as the key to the way they play, it is their commitment to the cause.”

Gerrard and Jamie Carragher went out of their way to greet Torres, sending him text messages within hours of him joining and helping him to settle in at Anfield – they remain on his phone to this day.

He added: “I really noticed that in training: Gerrard and Carragher for example, are always the first to do each exercise and their attitude provides a model to follow. Their enthusiasm is contagious; their approach brings the intensity and dedication necessary to everything we do. If they give everything then you have no choice but to give everything too.

“I admire Steven Gerrard because I know how much pressure he has to live with every day. Everyone’s talking about him all the time – in the dressing room, in the bars, in the stadium. From my own experience, I know how difficult it is to keep everyone happy, but the pressure he’s under is on a different level to anything I ever had to live with because Liverpool is such a huge club.

“When you’re captain, you know everyone is talking about you. You can feel it, especially when things go badly. Everything that Gerrard has to face every single day, and the expectations that surround him, make the way he handles the pressure even more impressive. He is always under the microscope and people always expect him to be a leader, to lift the team all on his own.

“He is an example to everyone who ever finds themselves in that situation. It’s incredible what he has to put up with and how much there is going on around him every single day.

“I would love to be a captain somewhere some day because I think I’ve had the best possible role model in Steven Gerrard."

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