1 Apr 2009

Gerrard a flop for England? Sad but true

Ukraine striker Artem Milevskiy has slammed Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard for their underwhelming influence on the England team, something that has been obvious for years. I have no doubt that most Liverpool fans will enthusiastically agree with him about Lampard (!), but they’ll never accept the fact that he is also 100% right about Gerrard.

In a pre-world cup qualifier interview, Milevskiy gave his thoughts on two of the alleged shining lights of the so-called ‘golden generation’:

"Fortunately for Ukraine, big players like Lampard and Gerrard are at a different level when they play for their clubs compared to when they play for the national team.

"I like both of those players when I've seen them play, but I haven't seen anything close to the influence and performances they give at club level when they play for England”.

Gerrard’s *cliché alert* talismanic impact on the Liverpool team is beyond dispute – he is the *cliché alert* driving force of the team and has proved his worth time and time again.

However, whatever way you slice it, Gerrard – like Lampard - has been poor for England for a long time, and his international failings have been glossed over by the fawning media and the blind faith brigade who refuse to accept the truth.

And it’s not as if he hasn’t had the chance to prove himself on the international stage; Gerrard has played in the World Cup and the European Championships, as well as the last 4 or 5 qualifying campaigns, including the Euro 2008 campaign, in which England ignominiously failed to qualify.

Indeed, Gerrard captained the side to an utterly wretched qualifying defeat against Croatia, the game that sealed England’s fate for that particular tournament.

Gerrard is constantly lauded as ‘the greatest player in the world’, but how can a player who consistently fails to register an impact in international tournaments be worthy of such a title?

At club level, Gerrard is one of the top 5 midfielders in the world, but at international level, it’s arguable whether he’s even in the top 20.

Many of Liverpool's loyal fanbase will have us believe that it's never his fault for underperforming in an England shirt and that someone else is always to blame.

It’s the manager’s incompetence; It’s failing to play him in the centre; It’s Lampard restricting him; the system was wrong for him and blah blah blah.

No – the brutal truth is that like his pampered, overpaid, primadonna pals (who’ve had their competitive edge dulled by greed, hype and endless deification); Gerrard has just not been good enough on the world stage.

Anyway, for me the reasons why are irrelevant; the bottom line is Gerrard has never been able to replicate his club form for England, and until he does, I fail to see how he can be considered to be the world’s greatest player.

But who knows – perhaps Gerrard’s golden years in an England shirt are still ahead of him? Perhaps he will storm the World Cup in 2010 and drag the team to an improbable success?

He’s certainly capable of it, but being capable of it actually *doing it* are two very different things.

Gerrard will be 29 soon, and he’s running out of international tournaments in which to prove himself. He will undoubtedly keep on doing the business for Liverpool, but until he dominates a major international tournament, his England career will never be anything less than an underwhelming disappointment.


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  1. who gives a flying about england you must live in london if your care about stevie playing for england would love him 2 do a carra and retire from international football as with any liverpool player regardless of nationality.

  2. Obviously you know more about football than Kaka and Zineddine Zidane who think he's one of the best if not the best player in the world.

  3. Your earlier article compared Villa to Keane, I think this shows your knowledge of football is sadly lacking. Do you truly believe your views of the quality of a footballer hold any weight compared to those of legends of the game such as Cruyff and Zidane?
    You stated the reason we were destined to always play 4231, was because Gerrard can only play one position(behind Torres). However the majority of professionals view him as the most complete player in the world. You contradict your earlier statement with

    " someone else is always to blame.

    It’s failing to play him in the centre; the system was wrong for him and blah blah blah.

    No – the brutal truth is that like his pampered, overpaid, primadonna pals.Gerrard has just not been good enough on the world stage."

    So what is it either he's underperformed because he's never played in the only position he can according to you, or everyones just making excuses for his shortcumings and your the only one who can see the truth?
    Enlighten me you clearly know more on the subject than a world class professional like kaka.

  4. Poor article Jaime, you've failed to mention the lack of poor England managers who have played dire tactics (the N.Ireland game is just one of many examples) and played Gerrard out of position, or if he has been in his prefered position, played him in a team out of balance. Instead you give the poor argument of blah blah blah, especially when your blog asks us to agrue our point. Why should we if you dont? Put him in a team which has balance and structure you get 5-1 performances.
    Do your other top 5 midfielders in the world play out of position? Do we see Messi playing the holding role or Kaka as a left winger or even Casillas at right-back? No we dont.
    Also you forgot injuries preventing him playing in the world cup.

    But hay, Zidane, Kaka and many others alike are just as wrong as most of the sensible football viewing world ay?

    Your strangely bitter-toned article more than "critical realism", is even funny for me as I am english and from Liverpool, but I couldnt give shit about the England team, but yet I still felt compelled to comment on your strange article.

    Just had a look at some of your other stuff, are you even a Liverpool Fan?? If so how on earth can you slag possibly(his career is not over yet)the 2nd greatest Liverpool player off?

    Stop trying to write thought provoking articles, your failing and it's making you sound like a T***.

  5. Just what has Steven Gerrard done to you? You sound just a little obsessed.

    He is not the messianic figure that some reds think him to be; but similarly he is not the cause of all ills that you paint him to be.

    Contrary to the detached rationalism that you strive to portray, you are coming across as something of a spittle flecked zealot.

    The truth lies somewhere between both blinkered extremes.

    Gerrard's international career has been undermined by injury and managerial incompetence. Steve McClaren was naive as a manager and England paid the price. Gerrard's versatility has meant that he has filled in all over the midfield; but at the cost of England not getting the best out of him. If you want the best of Gerrard, you need to alter the shape of the team to get the best out of him, as Rafa has done this season. Capello could be the man to get the most out of Gerrard.

  6. Anonymous - try and understand this: I don't give a damn whether my views hold any weight compared to the likes of Zidane et al. They have their view, I have mine. I don't hold myself out as someone who knows more than them - that is something you are projecting onto me.

    Furthermore, like so many people who allow their ire to cloud their ability to debate properly, you've completely misrepresented what I said about Keane and Villa in a weak attempt to undermine me. I *never* compared Villa to Keane in any way! I merely stated Liverpool were interested in Villa and Keane at one stage, and that neither would work in Liverpool's current system.

    You really need stop adopting the views of everyone else and try and form your own for a change. Kaka said this and Zidane said that. What do YOU think? Try that instead of just parroting what everyone else says.

  7. mmmmm or on the other hand, could it be that gerrard and co are are just playing in an average mid-table england team? Most england fans think that they have a divine right to be winning world/euro cups, instead of just achieving qualifacation and the occaisional knockout stage of major finals. Yes gerrard hasnt always performed at international level in every cap that he has had but you tell me someone who has? Luis figo who was voted world player of the year in 2001 and superb at club level, didnt win a major final with portugal (runner up euro 04)so,using your wisdom and logic, he cannot be a classed as one of the worlds best players either then? Just face it england are not world beaters, no matter how many false dawns they have and its the arrogance of these types of articles that saw england not missed in the slightest during last years euros.

  8. "You really need stop adopting the views of everyone else and try and form your own for a change."

    We think Gerrard is F'in great or we wouldn't be responding to the article, we only mention the likes of Kaka and Zidane because they have just a tiny bit (sarcasm) more knowledge on the matter than us lot. That's why we mention them. I thought that would be obvious.

  9. Incompetent sh!t....

    I am from South Africa and really dont give a flying kick whether he performs for your country or not... Here in SA, the whole country views Gerrard as the best player in the world and cannot wait to see him in the World Cup :)

  10. Adam - You are the living embodiment of the cliche spouting Liverpool fan. You talk about him playing out of position, but he has played many times in central midfield, the position he has claimed for *years* is his best position.

    Gerrard has also been played behind the striker and has flattered to deceive there as well.

    If he's a world class player and the 'complete player' in the world as you many fans claims, then surely he should be capable of performing more consistently well *even if he is played out of position.

    The whole 'he's always played out position' thing is a complete myth anyway. Playing in the centre is NOT OUT OF POSITION. It is Gerrard's self proclaimed best position. Playing on the right is NOT OUT OF POSITION. He excelled on the right for Liverpool in 2005-06, scoring 23 goals.

    The only time he's played out of position is on the left, and the number of times he's played there can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

    Your comparisons with Messi and Kaka are laughable. They play very specific positions, and did not start out and play as a central midfielder for years.

    Also, the injuries thing is another myth. Injuries forced Gerrard out of Euro 2000 and WC 2002, but he was available for Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006, and during the qualifying campaign for Euro 2008.

    What I said in an earlier article about Gerrard's best position behind behind Torres has *nothing* to do with England issue, so I don't know why you brought it up.

    And just like all the other head in the sand cliche merchants, you just fail to acknowledge the truth. It's the formation at fault; it's the players around Gerrard that are at fault; it's the manager's fault; it's down to injuries; it's Lampard's fault; When is it ever going to be Gerrard's fault?!

  11. Statistically, Gerrard's performances for England have been 'alright'. 14 goals in 70-odd appearences for a 29-year old midfielder is an acceptable return, but little more.
    Because of the sheer expectation on Gerrard this has to be therefore regarded as a failure, because we see him doing so much more every week at Liverpool - where even when he has bad games, he still doesn't usually get slated for them.
    Having said that, I really would struggle to believe that more than a small minority out of all Liverpool fans are particularly desperate to see this change. To some people you cannot be regarded as a truly great player unless you regularly triumph at international level, but I don't think a vast majority of Liverpool fans are ever going to base their true opinion of Gerrard's values and abilities on his England performances. As to what that makes him as a player overall - Liverpool fans are perhaps not the best positioned to judge him completely impartially, but you do have to admit we are the ones who see him week in week out playing in a completely comfortable climate, so obviously it's going to be hard to dissuade us from our beliefs.
    I do disagree with the critisism of Lampard though - he hasn't reproduced his absolute best for England, but I struggle to think of an occasion or period where he's been genuinely poor for them.

  12. Anonymous - believe me, I couldn't care less about the England team. I'm merely commenting on the points made by Milevskiy.

    I also notice that people conveniently gloss over all the praise I heaped on Gerrard in the article.

    You see, this is the problem - the 'fans' reperesented in this comments thread have complete and utter tunnel vision and are seemingly incapable of considering things in a wider context.

    This is a legitimate issue for debate - just because it's Gerrard doesn't make that any less true.

    As I've proved *endlessly*, and once again in the above article, I always give Gerrard credit where it is due, just as I do with every player. The difference is, the tunnel vision brigade are completel unwilling to even *consider* the possibility that Gerrard may be at fault for his failure to perform on the international stage.

    I liken this to the age old religion conundrum: you'll usually find that that those who *do not* believe in God are more than willing to consider the possibility that he *does* exist, while those that *do* believe in God are often completely inflexible and rabidly unwilling to consider the possiblity that he *might not* exist.

    The same kind of thinking can be applied here: I am more than willing to accept that Gerrard can make the step-up to world class; indeed, as I indicated in the article, I believe he is more than capable of dominating a tournament for England.

    Dissenters on this thread are, however *completely unwilling* to entertain the possibility that Gerrard *may not* be the world's greatest player, and may actually be personally responsible for his poor form for England.

  13. was john barnes a bad player for not reproducing his liverpool form for london united? so you cannot call me biased does that make george best unworthy of praise due to the fact he was better at club level than international?

  14. Where is a players proper position? I would go with where he wants, he happy at ease and confident. He has openly said he didn't like playing on the right or the left, but will play anywhere if asked and to play. BUT MY POINT ABOUT HIS POSITION, like many others have made time again, it his ability that makes people like you think so poorly, he plays in other postions because HE CAN, nobody else does, WHY? Because they CANT, thats my point about Kaka and Messi, if they were of his ability they could be moved and changed around, but they cann't, so what does that suggest?? Name me 5 players who can play in various positions to Gerrard at his level, I guarantee that you cant.

    Count on one hand??? Are you joking or just have more than 4 fingers and one thumb?

    So he missed out on tournament in 2000 and 2002 then..my maths says thats 50%, which to anybody is a lot.

    For christ sake...tunnel vision, the wider context??? We are giving you the wider bloody context...if some of the greatest players on earth are saying what they are saying about Gerrard, they surely know more than u, me EVERYONE

    I can't believe I'm responding to u, but u r the straw that has broke the camels back. You know the only people who critise Gerrard are Mancs chelsea fans and the bluenoses, even they cant reluctantley admit his class, then that leaves you.

    Lets bring an interesting question Jaime, George Best, was he world class??

  15. You're right, Naoise - Liverpool fans will not base their view of Gerrard on his England performances. My favourite player is John Barnes, and whilst her very good for England at times, he wasn't the Barnes of Liverpool when he was in an England shirt.

    Not that this matters to me, he's still my favourite player.

    I just think there is a fundamental contradiction in proclaiming a player the greatest in the *world*, if they've never shown evidence on the world stage to support that.

    Each level of football (league/Europe/International) has it's own unique pressures. In my view, the true greats of the game - the Zidanes/Cruyffs/Maradona's etc, are able to perform and have a huge impact irrespective of the pressure and expectation of the tournament.

    Gerrard has not achieved this *yet* for England, yet some people insist he stands shoulder to shoulder with Pele et al.

    I just don't accept that.

    However, I believe Gerrard has the ability to make that step up and I hope he does. If takes WC 2006 by storm and is the driving force behind England winning the tournament, or at least getting very close, then perhaps my view will change.

    I really don't see how this is such an unreasonable position to take.

  16. @Anonymous

    "Hooked plenty in again."

    He's boiled my piss mate.

  17. Adam - your tenuous argument about Gerrard's 'position' just does not hold any water.

    He plays in other positions because he can? Utter nonsense. He played in the centre for England because that was his self-confessed best position for Liverpool. he played on the right for England because he excelled there for Liverpool, which proves he *can* play there, irrespective of whether he wants to.

    He played behind the striker for England because he began to play that role for Liverpool. He still didn't do the business, despite the ridiculous hype.

    Why does it matter if players can play 5 positions or not? How is that relevant? Versatility is not synonomous with quality. Could Maradona play in 5 positions? Could Cruff? Zidane. WHO CARES?! How is it relevant?

    The fact is, most of the time, Gerrard has played in the three positions he excelled in for Liverpool: Central Mid, Right Wing and link man. For Englanf, he has consistently failed to deliver in those positions.

    And the key point here is Gerrard has *lobbied* to play in the center and link positions for England, because he believes they are his best positions.

    And please stop going on about other players' opinions! Why must they 'surely know more than you or me"? Football is not some mystical, complex, impenetrable system; it is not rocket science; it is 22 people kicking a ball around a rectangular patch of grass.

    Kaka, Zidane et all have their opinion; I am entitled to mine. I am not in competition with them; I do not claim to have a more valid view than them; far from it. Are you able to grasp that?

  18. Maybe not synonomous but a sure sign OR MORE PLAYERS WOULD BE DOING IT.

    You still havent answered about George Best. What are even your opinions on Dalglish, where was his international success??

    By saying he 'can' I am saying he plays it well, good, better than most. Any clearer?

    Why must they 'surely know more than you or me"? Football is not some mystical, complex, impenetrable system; it is not rocket science; it is 22 people kicking a ball around a rectangular patch of grass.

    After that comment and reading at least 4 more (I give at 4) of your Gerrard bashing (which baffles me), you know nothing of football....if you are telling me that somebody who has lived and breathed football all their life, at such a level that even your ego can not reach, that they do not know more than us? You are deluding yourself.

  19. It is not Gerrard bashing - it is exploring the issues, yet you do not have the grace to see that.

    Anyway - re Dalglish and George Best - We'll discuss that another time, as I'm posting an article soon which proposes a new definition of the term 'world class'. I will then discuss Dalglish and Best in relation to that definition.

    Having said that though, perhaps it's better if you do not read my stuff on this site as it clearly drives you to distraction - you already said you 'can't believe you're responding'. Solution: don't!


    I do not have the grace....let me see..

    Gerrard, is an "overpaid primadona", "lacks class, respect and professionalism" "stevie-me", he has a "hero complex" and is a "incredible sulk".

    They are YOUR WORDS JAIME, from several articles of yours (just 4 i found, i will bet there is more), nevermind calling us Liverpool fans stupid and many other things in a large portion of these and others I read.

    Get a grip.

  21. Hmmm. You can't just remove phrases from articles I posted a year ago and not consider the context.

    1. In the above article, I did not call gerrard an 'overpaid primadonna':

    "...truth is that like his pampered, overpaid, primadonna pals"

    You see that? LIKE HIS...PALS. Refers to other in the England team, not him.

    2. 'Lacks class' - I made this comment in response to Gerrard tapping up Gareth Barry in public. This was a classless act, especially given the fact that Liverpool fans were irate when Chelsea pursued Gerrard endlessly. Then, he goes and does the same thing and it's okay.

    3. resepct and professionalism. Kindly reveal the context of these words and from what article they came from.

    4. Stevie Me - Big deal!

    5. Hero complex. Gee, what a shattering insult! It's true. If it's not, explain why.

    6. Incredible sulk. Where do I get off hurling these offensive insults?! Gerrard has been an incredible sulk many times. Am I wrong?

    7. Where exactly did I call you or anyone on this thread 'stupid'? Oh that's right...I didn't!

  22. In the interest of making any kind of comment regarding the somewhat blinded view of one individual regarding Steven Gerrard and his international performances, he should take the time to read what Gerrard says of his own performances which for the most part are self critical...but you are entitled to your opinion BUT opinions are like arse holes we all have one

  23. You know Jaimie, I still think you are a Gerrard basher but I do have to agree with you. Despite my love for Gerrard, a player that hasn't excelled on an international level cannot be called the best. But I dont' agree that it's completely his fault.

    England has always been full of quality players, but the problem seemed to be the teamwork between them. Coaches/players just haven't found the right style yet. I just hope Capello figures it out.

    And also, if you really are such a Liverpool fan, you should probably cut back on so much of the criticism. While I agree with you at parts, you've been way too negative as a whole. Fans are there to cheer for their team, not to kick it.

  24. who the fck is Artem Milevskiy?

  25. The keep net is bulging tonight!
    Keep reeling them in Jaimie. Top work.

  26. I take it George Best wasn't that great then.

  27. Anonymous - I'm not quite sure what your point about George Best is - of course he was a great player. Did I suggest otherwise?

  28. You're a narcissistic moron. Seek help.

  29. Okay. I will. First thing in the morning, I promise :-)

  30. one things for sure Jaimie K can't stand it when a TRUE red gets the better of him! :-)

  31. Whatever gets you through the day Mark ;-)

    You had some valid points, but like so many others, you couldn't resist the sniping, so I had no choice but to delete your points.

    Feel free to repost your points sans insults and and we can continue the discussion.

  32. No point in argueing here guys - the article is based purely on his own opinion on which he cant be swayed.
    Comment on his other articles which are supposedly based more on facts. They are much easier to pick holes in and harder for him to defend.

  33. Of course, because opinions never form the basis of sustainable debate ;-)

    It's not about swaying people, it's about debating the issues. I'm more than happy to do that if people do it in the right way, but why does it have to be about changing each others' opinions? Does that have to be the goal of every discisson? Can't we just talk about it and retain our personal views on the matter?

  34. So you did say that Villa would of failed in the same way as keane, that would infer that you don't think the added quality that Villa possesses would of had any bearing on it. Keane could of had a great start at Liverpool, had he not spurned a dozen sitters.

  35. I can't believe I just lost on hours worth of text in the preview.

  36. So every debate with you ends with everybody saying agree to disagree?

  37. I honestly don't know of a Liverpool supporter who cares about his form for England. He performs well for his club and that is all that matters.

    You seem to use anything to have a dig at the lad and will use the smallest of things as a stick to beat him with. He has done so much for this team and it has been a pleasure to watch him but your constant sniping is very tiresome.

    I've read back over a few of your previous articles and everything seems to have a negative undertone which I just don't get. I can understand it if there was an even split between negative and positive articles, I've even got a few gripes myself, but everything you post seems to be in anger.

    If we win the League or Champions League, I bet you will find fault somewhere along the line and have a go at someone. Maybe they will celebrate in the wrong fashion or say the wrong thing in an interview!!!!

    There is critical realism and then there is just down right negativity in everything they see. You fall in to the latter category and I don't see a whole lot of support for our players and manager coming from you.

    No doubt you will give me the 'I support the Club, not the individual' line but they are the same thing in my eyes. Having a go at certain people for some of the things you have are nothing but petty. Can you honestly call yourself a supporter when it appears you do nothing of the sort?

  38. great debate when the op "edits posts" says it all. SG isnt great for England - agree, he has good games, he has bad games - but then thats England through and through, its a team game right? I dont care for England, but I do find it interesting how people seem to expect, almost demand success from the national team despite being an average team at best. It typifies English mentality, furthermore when the displays or performance is average people try and find a scape goat be it Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney - whoever, we all appreciate they are great for their clubs. Do people honestly believe you can only be great if you are successful on the international front. worrying thought, judging the national team at the mo, English players dont have a prayer.

    Still for me, like my fellow reds, as long as SG continues as he does for Liverpool, I certainly wont lose any sleep on his England performances.

  39. JD - why don't you just get over it already? If you can't hack the fact that there are opposing sides of every issue, and that all sides are open for debate, then, with respect, you need to open your mind a little more.

    You conveniently gloss over the praise in my post for Gerrard. But that's hardly surprising.

    The comments made by the Ukranian player are fair game and worth discussion. When it comes to writing something about the comments, you basically have three choices:

    1. Just report the comments without any commentary.

    2. Report the comments and make a case that they're wrong and Gerrard actually is a success for England.

    3. Look at the comments and make the case that they are actually correct.

    Number 3 is what I've done. I would've done number 2 if I believed that or if there was a case to make, but there *isn't*.

    It's nothing to do with having a go at Gerrard - it's purely about seeing some comments and having an opinion on them. Since Gerrard is the most written about LFC player, it stands to reason there will be more articles about him since there is *more to write about*.

    You and all the others who keep acting like your mortally wounded whenever there is even te mildest criticism about Gerrard need to having such tunnel vision.

    The fact is, whether you chose to accept it or not, the overall point about Gerrard and England is correct: he has been disappointing. As I said before, this is worthy of discussion. If you disagree, then argue your point and make the case that I'm wrong.

    This tedious trend of 'how can you call yourself a supporter and blah blha blah' every time I write something that doesn't comform to so called fan expectation, is getting really tired.

    I will write about anything I deem newsworthy. Since this is an opinion site, I will put my own spin on it. If you don't like it, then I suggest you stop coming to this site and go and visit other sites where the posts will comform to your expectations.