1 Nov 2007

Robson slams 'selfish' Gerrard

Finally! A high profile dissenting voice in the media highlighting the 'Steven Gerrard problem' at Liverpool.

In a recent interview, Sir Bobby Robson offered a refreshing antidote to the endless media eulogizing, highlighting Gerrard’s selfish attitude and undermining tendencies...

Fuelled by the exaggerated hyperbole of the ‘Steven Gerrard can do no wrong’ club, chaired by Andy Gray and Alan Hansen, the media fawning over Gerrard is sickening. No matter what Gerrard does, the likes of Gray and Hansen praise him to the hilt, find excuse after excuse and, in Gray’s case, even exhort Gerrard to leave the club if he’s not played in central midfield!

Robson views are a breath of fresh air! If only there were more like him willing to highlight the evils of egotistical player power. Robson focuses on Gerrard's recent subsitution against Everton - an incident that really irritated me, and should irritate all true fans – i.e. fans of the CLUB, not fans of Steven Gerrard Inc.

After the game, Gerrard made a huge song and dance about being ‘hurt’ and ‘disappointed’, and whined about how he wanted an explanation from the Manager. Robson commented:

“Rafa was brave in taking off Gerrard at Everton because he would have been severely criticised had Liverpool not won. But they did win, and I am not sure why Gerrard had to go and see his manager to ask why he had been subbed. Would Dirk Kuyt, Javier Mascherano or any other player do that?”.

Exactly. No other player would have had the churlish audacity to question their Manager in the media, but Gerrard believes he is on a higher plain than everyone else. The fact is, Gerrard went off and the game was won. End of story. The means justifies the ends and that should be enough for him.

Of course, if Gerrard was a genuine team player, he would see the bigger picture and be satisfied that the TEAM combined to produce the right result. Sadly though, this incident once again illustrates how Gerrard is concerned more with personal glory than team achievement.

Bobby Robson seems to agree with this sentiment, stating that ‘no individual is bigger than the club and this is the time for Stevie to ask 'What can I do for Liverpool?', not 'What can they do for me?’’.

Gerrard has a history of sulking when things don’t go his way. As Robson observes in the article, “Gerrard has always made his opinions clear about where he wants to play”. When he doesn’t get what he wants, the sulking begins, with the most obvious signs of this being negative body language on the pitch and aggressive attitude towards fellow players when they make the slightest mistake.

This kind of behaviour is deliberately undermining, not only to the Manager, but the club as a whole. Robson also sees this, noting:

"His [Gerrard's] apparent willingness to give an opinion is not exactly helping. Stevie should be aware of the influence he has, and now is the time to use that influence to back the manager in a trying time".

Make no mistake about it, this is a non offensive, diplomatic rebuke by Robson, but it’s a rebuke all the same. I’m sure Robson sees parallels between the Gerrard/Benitez situation and his own battles with Alan Shearer at Newcastle United. I would not discount the possibility that privately, Robson advocates the selling of Steven Gerrard, and I would argue there is evidence of this in the article, where he states:

“The best managers realise quickly when there is possible conflict with a big-name player and they act decisively to make sure everyone knows who is in charge. Sir Alex Ferguson has done it often, most notably with David Beckham and Roy Keane, while Wenger dealt with the Henry situation for the good of the club.”

Read between the lines! Not surprisingly, the three players mentioned all left their respective clubs. Perhaps Robson is subtly imploring Benitez to also take ‘decisive action’ for the good of the club.

“I am sure the Liverpool captain is a long way from leaving Anfield”, concluded Robson “but it is important the manager is in charge and is backed by the board and the fans”.

Rafa’s substitution of Gerrard against Everton was a decisive act, and one which increased my respect for the man. However, the most decisive act would be to sell Gerrard – something that, in my view, is a necessity if Liverpool have genuine aspirations of winning the title this decade.

1 comment:

  1. I think most Liverpool fans who can see through Stevie G, have had there own Stevie Me epiphany. Mine was when we played Luton in the cup, when Xabi Alonso saw, and took (maybe the only man on the pitch who could) his opportunity to score from inside his own half. Gerrard's lack of vision was apparent when he couldn't see what Xabi was up to, and screamed for the ball. The look was priceless on Gerrard's face when he saw the ball going in. That was when I loved Gerrard just a little less.