John Barnes: Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard world-class in new role
Liverpool legend John Barnes believes Steven Gerrard didn't have to adapt too much to his new role
John Barnes insists he hasn’t been surprised by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard’s form in his new midfield role.
The 33-year-old played the second half of the Premier League season in a deep-lying midfield role, scoring 13 goals and making 11 assists in 35 top-flight appearances.
So this is not a role that is alien to Steven, this is not a role that Steven can’t do to a world-class proportion
Former Liverpool midfielder Barnes, who won three top-flight crowns, feels England skipper Gerrard always had the capability to play in a more defensive role.
“I have said this all along to people,” Barnes told Liverpool’s website.
“I remember speaking to Didi Hamann about it, because Didi didn’t know Steven Gerrard as a young kid who was able to do that.
“When he came, Steven was an all-attacking midfield player, and Didi is surprised that Steven can do this. I’m not surprised at all. I knew Steven when he was a young boy, in my last year at Liverpool.
“If it had been decided, he decided or it was decided for Steven as a 16-year-old, to be a holding midfield player, he would have been the best holding midfield player in the country, the best defensive midfield player in the country.
“What was decided, either by him or the club, was that he would be an attacking midfield player, so he became the best attacking midfield player in the country.
“So this is not a role that is alien to Steven, this is not a role that Steven can’t do to a world-class proportion. So it doesn’t surprise me at all that he has done it, because it’s very natural for him to do it as he gets older.
“He has been the best defensive midfield player in the country. People may have been shocked by that, but I’m not.”