Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was clearly worried his comments about England games being “bigger” than Liverpool games had upset a lot of Liverpool fans. Speaking at an England press conference earlier in the week, Gerrard said: “When I join up for England, these games are bigger than the Champions League or Premier League games. You’re representing your country. If you go to a major tournament and achieve something as a team it’s going to be a lot bigger than doing it at your club.”
Speaking to the local press in Liverpool, Gerrard backtracked a little, claiming he’d not meant that to sound quite the way he did. He told the Liverpool Echo: “All I was trying to say was when I am with England, England are most important but when I am with Liverpool, Liverpool are most important, and I would like to think my performances back this up. I am desperate for success with both Liverpool and England.”
As is often the case, the headlines above his quotes did stretch his words into a slightly different meaning. Gerrard never used the words “more important” but the headline writers did. Gerrard said “bigger”, which is a little different in meaning.
His claims today don’t quite match what he said earlier in the week. When pointed out then that his Liverpool fans would say their games were bigger than England games, he said: “Maybe that’s supporters being selfish. But as a player you want to play in the biggest games out there – and the biggest games out there are the Euros and World Cups.”
In reality Gerrard wants to win everything, and until he does he’ll probably never be able to say which was bigger. He could have walked out on Liverpool and got a Premiership winners medal less than a year later, but he chose to stay to try and win things with his boyhood club. He really could do with taking some lessons on how to choose his words more carefully, but even if he does, deep down, consider England games to be bigger than Liverpool games, that’s not to say he won’t put his heart and soul into winning games for the Reds.
And if results go as expected this weekend, Gerrard won’t be winning any medals for England for at least three years.