Gerrard started out with Huyton Juniors, but was picked up by Liverpool's scouts aged just 9, and joined the Reds as a schoolboy in 1989. During his youth years Gerrard played relatively few games, with late growth spurts restricting him to only 20 games between the ages of 14 and 16. Gerrard never made it into the England Schoolboys team, an odd quirk considering his successful professional career.
Aged 14, Gerrard had trials with various clubs, including Manchester United. In his autobiography he claimed that this was "to pressure Liverpool into giving me a YTS contract." During this time he had an accident involving a garden fork and could have lost his toe. Luckily this was not the case.
Gerrard signed his first professional contract with Liverpool on the 5th of November, 1997. He made his debut for the Liverpool first team on 30 November 1998 as a second-half substitute for Vegard Heggem against Blackburn.
Liverpool first team
His first start came in the UEFA Cup against Celta Vigo and despite the Reds losing on the night, Gerrard's widely-praised performance belied his youth. Due to an injury to Jamie Redknapp, Gerrard went on to play 13 games for Liverpool that season.
The 1999–2000 season saw Gérard Houllier start with Gerrard partnering Redknapp in central midfield. After being in the starting line-up for the first six games, Gerrard was relegated to the substitutes' bench for the local derby against Everton. Gerrard replaced Robbie Fowler after 66 minutes but went on to receive the first red card of his career for an ugly foul on Everton's Kevin Campbell in the 90th minute. Later that season, Gerrard scored his first senior goal in a 4-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday on 5 December 1999.
2000–01 brought Gerrard his first trophy successes. Gerrard put his injury problems behind him and made 50 first team appearances, while scoring 10 goals, as Liverpool won the League Cup and FA Cup. In the UEFA Cup final against Alavés, Gerrard scored his first major final goal as Liverpool won 5-4.
At the end of the season Gerrard was named PFA Young Player of the Year.
Houllier handed the club captaincy to Gerrard for the 2002 season, perhaps hoping that he could inspire his teammates to improve their performance, but also to compel him to take responsibility for his own indifferent disciplinary record – a tactic which apparently worked as throughout the season, he was booked only twice. His then Liverpool team mate, Michael Owen, expressed relief in his autobiography at Gerrard being named captain as it took some pressure off his own shoulders.
Gerrard was approached by Chelsea to sign for them during the summer of 2004, but he eventually chose to stay at Liverpool. It is known that he was on the brink of signing for the London club but was persuaded to stay because of his family and friends. It was also alleged in the British tabloid press that Gerrard had been the target of death threats from aggrieved Liverpool fans. The arrival of new Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez also played a part in his decision.
Champions League winner
A foot injury sustained against rivals Manchester United on 20 September 2004 ruled Gerrard out of first team football until late November 2004. In the final game of that year's Champions League group stage, Gerrard scored a crucial twenty-five-yard strike against Greek team Olympiakos. Liverpool needed to win by two clear goals to progress to the last sixteen of the competition. They were 1-0 down at half-time, but grabbed two goals, before Gerrard secured their place with their third with a late strike from outside the box. He has since claimed that this was his best, if not his most important, goal for Liverpool to date.
Liverpool went on to reach the 2005 Champions' League final against AC Milan in Istanbul. At half-time Liverpool had been outplayed and were 3-0 down. In the second half, Gerrard headed a goal and kick-started Liverpool's comeback. Minutes later, Vladimír Šmicer scored again for the Reds. Gerrard then won Liverpool a penalty when he was fouled by Gennaro Gattuso in the penalty area. Xabi Alonso's penalty was initially saved, but he scored from the rebound to make it 3-3.
Liverpool went on to win the match via a penalty shootout, making Gerrard the second youngest captain ever to lift the European Cup (Didier Deschamps is the youngest). After the match, he gave a hint regarding his future, when he said to the press: "How can I leave after a night like this?" However, by July 2005 contract negotiations broke down between Gerrard and the club. Reports stated that Gerrard was about to leave Liverpool, and Chelsea were again reported to have tabled a British record bid of thirty-two million pounds for the player. Throughout the episode, Liverpool remained insistent that they wanted Gerrard to stay, but on 5 July Gerrard stated publicly that he wished to leave.
To the delight of Liverpool fans, Gerrard changed his mind the next day and pledged his future to the club. He also apologised to the club's supporters and insisted that there were no get-out clauses in the new contract that he would be signing. He also offered to give up his captaincy, but was told by Rafael Benítez that it was not necessary. On the morning of 8 July, Gerrard signed a new four-year deal with Liverpool alongside teammate, Jamie Carragher.
To cap Gerrard's great year in the Champions' League he was named as UEFA's Most Valuable Player for the 2004–05 Champions' League season. He was also in the running for French sport newspaper L'Equipe's prestigious Ballon D'Or award. Rounding out 2005, Gerrard came third in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year behind Ellen MacArthur (second) and Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff (first).
Later Steven Gerrard put in a transfer request. However, after the bad reaction of Liverpool supporters he withdrew his request.
FA Cup 2006
The 2005–06 season was Gerrard's most impressive to date. He scored 23 goals in 53 games from midfield. In April, Gerrard received his greatest personal accolade to date, when he was voted PFA Player of the Year by his fellow players, becoming the first Liverpool player to win the award since John Barnes in 1988. His only lowlight being a dreadful back pass which was intercepted by Thierry Henry, which lead to him scoring Arsenal's winning goal.
Gerrard capped the season by captaining Liverpool to victory in the FA Cup. He scored twice in the Final against West Ham, including a dramatic equaliser in stoppage time to send the game into extra-time. The 35-yard strike (past Shaka Hislop) has been called one of the greatest goals in FA Cup final history, and was named Match of the Day's Goal of the Season.
His goals in the 2006 FA Cup final makes Gerrard the only player to have scored in all four major cup finals that it is possible for an England-based player to take part in. Gerrards goals were: FA Cup (2006 vs West Ham), League Cup (2003 vs Manchester United), UEFA Cup (2001 vs Alaves), and European Cup (2005 vs AC Milan).
In summer 2006, Gerrard quashed transfer rumours, publicly stating, "I'm not going to get involved in all that kind of speculation again; I'm settled and happy at Liverpool, and I'm not going to go through another summer like the last two. I'll be staying here until the day someone tells me they don't want me."
Gerrard was given his international debut by Kevin Keegan against Ukraine on 31 May 2000. It was 18 months and only 44 games since his debut for the Liverpool first team. That summer, he was picked for the England squad for Euro 2000. In an unsuccesful campaign for England, Gerrard only made one substitute appearance, coming on for Michael Owen after 61 minutes, in the team's sole victory — a 1-0 defeat of Germany.
Gerrard was one of three Liverpool players that scored in the famous World Cup qualifying game in September 2001 against Germany (1–5 away victory), this being his first international goal. England successfully qualified for the 2002 World Cup, but Gerrard was forced to pull out of the squad to undergo surgery on a problematic groin injury. This operation finally put an end to injury problems that had plagued Gerrard since his early teens.
The 2004 European Football Championship saw Gerrard finally get a starting role in a major international tournament. Late in England's first game against France, Gerrard's back-pass was intercepted by Thierry Henry, who was then brought down by David James, winning France a penalty. Zinedine Zidane duly scored to give France victory 2-1. England went on to win their next two group games to progress in second place, with Gerrard scoring his first goal at a finals competition with the third goal against Switzerland. England lost in the next round to Portugal, with Gerrard being substituted in the 81st minute.
Gerrard suffered an injury scare days before the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when it was suggested that he might be ruled out of England's first game of the tournament; however, he was deemed fit to make his first ever World Cup appearance, and started in the side that beat Paraguay 1-0. He then went on to score twice in the group stages of the tournament – first netting England's second goal in a 2-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago with a long-range, curled strike (coincidentally, again past Hislop) in injury time. This victory, in which Gerrard's Liverpool team-mate Peter Crouch also scored, ensured England's progress to the second round of the tournament with a game to spare. Gerrard was then initially rested for the final group game against Sweden, as a precaution against picking up a second booking that would have ruled him out of the second round match (having already received one against Paraguay). He came off the bench to score a powerfully headed goal in the 85th minute, giving England the lead in a game that finished 2-2. Gerrard was one of three England players to see their penalty saved by Ricardo Pereira in the quarter-final penalty shoot-out which was won by Portugal.
In August 2006, the new England national football team manager, Steve McClaren, appointed Gerrard vice-captain of the national side.
In September 2006, Gerrard scored the second goal in England's opening match of their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign against Andorra. He has not however scored in the 2006/07 Premiership season as of 21 October.
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