Steven Gerrard’s loyalty to Liverpool is absolute.
During his playing days the talismanic midfielder did everything in his power to bring glory to Anfield.
As a result he was obligated to detest rivals Man United and every aspect of the club.
Gerrard’s passion for Liverpool made international duty rather awkward as he was forced to share a changing room with several United legends.
At his first ever Live Event in Belfast, the former England captain talked openly about the complexities of mixing with his rivals.
“When you’re lining up against in the tunnel against Rio [Ferdinand] and Gary Neville you want to do everything in your power to beat them, there’s hatred there, that’s exactly how it is.
“When you meet up for England at that time, you pretend you like them.”
England’s ‘Golden Generation’ of 2002 to 2006 was largely made up of United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal players — clubs that were competing fiercely for the title.
It stands to reason that top competitors use rivalry to bring out the best in them.
What Gerrard calls ‘pretending to like’ could also be called professionalism.
He went on to say how he’s forged genuine friendships with former rivals since retiring.
“Your career finishes, their career finishes and your friendship starts for real,” he said.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for Rio as a player, played for a top club all his life, he’s a good fella as well, I’m enjoying the role at BT with him.”
Gerrard’s words provide a nice insight into the inner working of player mentalities and the relationship between club football and the international stage.
Barcelona and Real Madrid have the most hyped rivalry in world football but between 2008 and 2012 players from both sides successfully blended to form one of the most dominant international teams ever.
Shame England’s golden crop couldn’t do the same…
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