AFTER much debate and protestation regarding the England captaincy, the country does not find itself any the wiser, and possibly more confused than ever before, with Stuart Pearce choosing to go with Tottenham’s midfield maestro Scott Parker, a choice that was not universally met with agreement certainly not on Merseyside where with obvious bias most Reds supporters expected Stevie G to be restored as England captain.
This whole process regarding England captains & England managers has taken away from what should be the real debate regarding the Liverpool skipper, in a way whether Steven Gerrard were once again to be honoured with the England armband is irrelevant. What is more of a relevance is the role he has seemed to have negated over the weeks since he returned from injury, the thrusting, bustling runs at the heart of the opposing defence, once were like a knife through butter but recently we have seen less and less of this type of contribution to the team.
Kenny Dalglish has tasked Gerrard with a much different type of midfield role in what is a personal sacrifice for the sake of our team, and I believe at loss to his own aggressive attacking nature and game. But this is typical our captain once again like many times before. Like a true leader he leads not just from the front, but all over including from the side-lines, which unfortunately he has had to with the injuries he has encountered over the last few seasons.
I was surprised after Wembley and the game against Cardiff how much personal stick that the captain came in for, maybe from those quarters where people know no better, and don’t have a true understanding what the demands are on a professional sportsman at the top-level in these days where the belief is that money rules.
The defensive role that Gerrard has taken on, or has been forced to take with the injury to Lucas, is certainly not foreign to Gerrard. If supporters really look at how that role has been taken on they will actually see a master of his art at work, the World’s greatest players find it easy to adapt to positions with the ease and grace befitting of such a status. I still think it is quite plain to see that Gerrard has tended to wane slightly toward the end of games, possibly his fitness has still not returned to 100%.
Which leads me on to an article by our journalist friend, Paddy Barclay, from The London Evening Standard on Monday. Now first of all you have to remember that Paddy Barclay has his own history with our club – using the Heysel deaths to score points whilst arguing with a Liverpool supporter on twitter?
Under the headline “Mystic Steven Gerrard Should Get Rid of Crystal Ball” Barclay is once again looking at our club from an all too familiar angle. In the article he suggests and blames Gerrard for not leading England to a victorious campaign in the last World Cup and that he is in some way a selfish player rather than the selfless captain we have all witnessed over many years.
Here’s the whole article, obviously without the author or papers permission. As The London Evening Standard is a free newspaper, I am sure they won’t mind. I won’t however paste the link and feed the monster any longer:
‘Congratulations to Steven Gerrard on adding the Carling Cup to his garland of honours. And thanks to the Liverpool captain for kindly allowing us an insight into the strategy for what, it is hoped, will be a glorious culmination to his career.
Delivered in interviews with the BBC and a Sunday newspaper, it boils down to this: Liverpool, after duly beating Cardiff (Gerrard seemed not to envisage the difficulty of that task), would defeat Stoke at home to book at least one more trip to Wembley while climbing into fourth place in the Premier League (Arsenal must have provided another surprise).
As for England, they would restore Gerrard to the captaincy this week and for Euro 2012, after which he would decide whether to quit international football in favour of devoting all his energies to his undoubtedly beloved club.
You may be thinking two things. One is that this hugely gifted but loyal club man deserves every bit of success that comes his way. The other is that his England presumptions must have been liberally hedged with phrases such as “if selected” and “depending on the manager’s opinion”. They were not.
And nor was this the Steven Gerrard who, after giving England an early lead in their opening World Cup match against the United States, led them to further victories over Germany and others before giving an inspirational performance in the final against Spain, establishing himself as an all-time great.
This was the Steven Gerrard who, after giving England an early lead over the United States, ran alone to celebrate on the touchline, brushing aside Emile Heskey, whose superbly weighted pass had laid the goal on. The Gerrard who was then distinguishable from the rest of a crumbling team only by the armband he forlornly wore.
If he gets the armband back this week when the selfless Scott Parker is available, Stuart Pearce will have begun his England stewardship with a mistake.’
So you can see for yourself exactly what Paddy personally thinks of our Captain Fantastic, using such examples as “brushing aside Emile Heskey” to show his selfishness. How many players barge, kick and throw their teammates from the celebratory path?
This whole article is based on a misquote.
Barclay says: “….his England presumptions must have been liberally hedged with phrases such as ‘if selected’ and ‘depending on the manager’s opinion’. They were not.”
What Gerrard actually said was: “If I get offered it, I’ll take it and I’ll be delighted and I’ll be very proud to take it.
“But it’s not my decision. It’s down to, first of all, who Stuart Pearce wants to lead the team out, then whoever gets the job full-time. But I want to be England captain.”
Once again we find ourselves having to defend against the bias of poor journalism, both factually incorrect and most definitely disingenuous. We await another poor excuse and then a much poorer attempt of an apology, Paddy? If not for the supporters you have misled with your article, then for Steven Gerrard - still Our Captain Fantastic!!
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