Steven Gerrard was one of the greatest midfielders of his generation. During his time playing for Liverpool FC in England, Gerrard won the UEFA Champion League, as well as the League and FA Cups on different occasions. He also had a remarkable career with the England National Team, which he captained for a period before retiring form international duty. The book talks about the early childhood of a boy who was born and brought up in Merseyside, and whose only dream was to play football for the club he loved, Liverpool.
Steven Gerrard’s story is one of tragedy, determination, resilience and the undying belief that he was among the best in what he did. His work was an inspiration to his Liverpool and England teammates, as well as fans. Steven Gerrard is, according to the theme implied in the book, an embodiment of the power of the human spirit. While he has called time on his playing career, he is still active in football, having been appointed a junior coach at his beloved club.
Areas of special focus
From the book, the inspirational power of Steven Gerrard is highly emphasized, it is cited as one of the forces which drove Liverpool and the England national team to success during his years as a player and captain. The reason given for his decision to not move to Chelsea, where more domestic success would have materialized, is not wholly agreeable – his move may have been the result of a need to continue being an important player, rather than moving to a place where his influence was diluted. His role in Liverpool’s success is on the other hand acceptable. The book does not contain an objective self-assessment by Gerrard, in a way that a reader could have a clear appraisal of the player. Issues as to why Liverpool never really regained its lost glory during the Gerrard years is also not included in the otherwise engaging book.
The ability of the player to rally the troops in the most important of times is legendary. At the time Gerrard was instrumental in helping Liverpool win the UEFA Champions League trophy in 2005, Gerrard was only 25. Yet, he was able to find the inspiration, in deeds on the field and words off it, to ensure his team won the coveted trophy. Through the following years, the player constantly needed to rouse his teammates – the odds were stakes against them. New owners were pumping millions into their clubs, buying new players with greater technical ability. Gerrard inspired his teammates to not be daunted by these developments, and instead focus on the issues at hand.
Nowhere was this inspiration clearer than hen Gerrard led his team to victory on that famous night in Istanbul. Having been staring at defeat in the first half of the game, Gerard rallied his team-mates to effect a remarkable turn-around, and eventually win the match. While other instances were of a lesser consequence in terms of the prize to be won, they still showed the football world that Gerrard was not only a master footballer, but also that he was a greater leader, whose abilities were not only limited to a football. This was also seen when, as his physical abilities started to fail, he remained an integral part of the team, as a leader and a force of motivation to other players. On the national team, Gerrard was overlooked several times for the captaincy. There was strong field from which managers had to select captains. He however never shied away form providing leadership. He would cajole and guide, with his eye on the prize of winning and professionalism (Gerrard, 2012).
Why he did not leave the club; role in Liverpool’s success
In 2004, Chelsea had wanted to sign Gerrard to strengthen their midfield. After initially flirting with the idea, Gerrard eventually committed to Liverpool. While he implies this was driven by his love for club and the city, there may have been other reasons. Chief among them was the fear of losing influence while at Chelsea. At 24, Gerrard was among the youngest captains Liverpool had ever had. His career was blossoming, and he was sure to be an integral part of Liverpool’s success for years to come. Chelsea was offering more money and the chance to win trophies. However, it was likely that he would be overshadowed by other players, and eventually not have as glorious career as he would have wished. Reduced playing time might have jeopardized his place on the national team as well.
His role in Liverpool’s successes cannot however be underestimated .In some instances; Gerrard clearly dragged the team out of many defeats, while also pushing teammates harder when it was needed. For these, his contributions to Liverpool and the England national team are true. While the club and the national team have time and again been endowed with remarkable players, they have still been lacking in many instances. In these crucial junctures, Gerrard’s value was clear for all to see. The Liverpool captain was clearly not to be underestimated as a player, and more so as a leader. Without him, it is likely that Liverpool may not have won the Champions league, or the other trophies which they won with Gerrard on the team (Benitez, 2012).
Why Liverpool never won EPL
Gerrard’s autobiography is strikingly flanked in its assessment of himself, his teammates and the entire playing career. It is however not clear which reasons he gives for having never scaled the heights other players of a similar caliber have. His Liverpool team never lifted the Premier League during his time there, though they came close.
The life and times of Steven Gerrard is a story worth telling. It is not only inspiring, but it is an informative piece of literature on the game of football, and its place in modern society. Through the game, Gerrard was able to achieve so much, and give back much more. Gerrard was one of the most important players of his time, both at Liverpool and with the National Team. However, his influence was not simply a matter of footballing genius. He was able to inspire regular people who have nothing in common with football. His club career is filled with passion and consistency, two qualities that are important in succeeding in life. Gerrard’s biography is therefore not a read just for his fans and football lovers. It is a story to be told by anyone who is striving to succeed in whatever they are engaged in.
Despite the frank nature of the book, there are issues which are still not clear. These include some of the decisions that Gerrard has made over his career, including his decision to fight at Liverpool rather than look for success elsewhere. Generally however, the book is a good account of what people must do if they hope to achieve success in sports, business or other endeavors.
Bar-Eli, M., Plessner, H., Raab, M. (2011). Judgment, Decision-making and Success in Sport. Malden: John Wiley and Sons.
Zenger, J., Folkman, J. (2009). The Inspiring Leader: Unlocking the Secrets of How Extraordinary Leaders Motivate. New York: McGraw Hill.
Gerrard rallies his troops after scoring against AC Milan in 2005 (source – Reddit).
Benitez, R. (2012). Champions League Dreams. London: Headline Publishers.
Gerrard, S. (2012). Biography and Autobiography. London: Transworld.