Steven Gerrard and Steve McManaman provided a fascinating insight into what it takes to make it as a footballer at the highest-level last night – particularly in reference to the Roy Hodgson era at Liverpool.
Gerrard, who captained his boyhood club for the majority of his playing career – admitted that there were times when playing under Hodgson was ‘uncomfortable’ given the extremely hostile atmosphere at Anfield.
Bad passes and mistakes were audibly groaned at by the home support, and Gerrard along with his former team-mate McManaman, speaking on the BT Sport panel in the aftermath of their former club’s 2-0 win over Newcastle – provided a great discussion into how so-called ‘lesser’ players can subsequently go into a shadow as a result.
Hodgson was eventually replaced by Kenny Dalglish, and Gerrard admitted that despite it being a difficult time for all involved at the club – his effort never dipped, regardless of whether or not he agreed with what the manager was trying to do:
“I don’t play for a manager. I turn up to work on a Monday, and I have values and principles in myself that I give, every single day. I take the Monday and Friday into the game.”
“If Liverpool didn’t have a manager, I would still give exactly the same effort and commitment and desire for the badge.”
The former Liverpool great leaped to the defence of his former teammates when asked if the same desire was shown by them, and McManaman echoed the sentiments of Gerrard, outlining that if a player does not give his all behind the scenes, then he should not deserve the honour of gracing the field come Saturday afternoon.
The discussion came in response to recent comments made by Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland, in which he suggested that the Stoke players were now trying harder and making more of an effort under new manager Paul Lambert than they were with his predecessor, Mark Hughes.
The panel unanimously agreed that Butland’s comments, while perhaps unintentional, were disrespectful to Hughes – with Gerrard labelling it a poor quote.
Watch the fascinating discussion here, which will exemplify just why Gerrard and McManaman were able to ply their trade at the highest levels for so long.