Today’s player of the day is the Liverpool and England Captain Steven Gerrard. Gerrard is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation and has a long list of individual awards to back this up including the PFA Player’s Player of the Year (2006), PFA Young Player of the Year (2001) and coming third in the elusive Ballon d’Or in 2005.
Gerrard missed the start of the 2011-12 season due to an injury to his groin, however he returned in October to score in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with rivals Manchester United but an ankle injury forced him out for a further 2 months. When Gerrard did return in January his presence on the pitch helped inspire the Liverpool team to Carling Cup success as well as reaching the final of the FA Cup. On his 400th Premier League appearance for the Reds Gerrard scored a hat-trick to give Liverpool a 3-0 win in the Merseyside derby against Everton.
Gerrard made his Liverpool first team debut in 1998 and has since gone on to play 581 times for the club scoring 149 goals in the process. He was a key part of the 2000-01 treble winning side making 50 appearances and scoring ten goals as Liverpool won the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup. His performances on the pitch and his natural leadership qualities prompted the then Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier to present Steven Gerrard with the Liverpool captaincy in 2003. A role of which he seemed to thrive under and his performances were instrumental in the success of the team in 2005 and 2006 respectively. Arguably Gerrard’s greatest moment came in the 2005 Champions League Final against AC Milan, trailing 3-0 at half time Gerrard set the standard for what many call the greatest comeback in European football. Scoring the 1st of Liverpool’s 3 goals and winning the penalty resulting in the 3rd Gerrard was awarded the man of the match as Liverpool won the cup, for the 5th time in their history, on penalties. Gerrard repeated his heroics a year later in the 2006 FA Cup final against West Ham scoring twice including a 30 yard screamer in extra time to take the game into extra time and in doing so became the first man to score in FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup and Champions League finals.
Gerrard made his international debut against Ukraine on 31 May 2000 and scored his first international goal in the famous 5–1 victory over Germany in a 2002 World Cup qualifier in September 2001 however an injury forced him to pull out of the final 2002 World Cup Squad.
He participated in his first World Cup in 2006 and scored two goals, both in the group stage, against Trinidad & Tobago and Sweden, however was helpless as England crashed out in the quarter finals to Portugal.
Gerrard was named permanent captain of England by new coach Roy Hodgson, in time for the Euro 2012. This was the first time that he was named directly the captain of England and not in place of an injured or unavailable captain. During the tournament he provided three assists and won two man of the match awards to help England finish top of their group in the qualifying round, and go through to the quarter-finals. Despite their exit on penalties to Italy, Gerrard was later the only England player to be named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament
Gerrard has made 96 appearances for his country scoring 19 goals.