I recently finished reading autobiography of Seven Gerrard. If someone doesn’t know him by any chance, he was a professional football player. He played his whole life for one club – Liverpool FC. Started from the youth academy and built up all the way to captaining the Liverpool senior team being as an image of the club. Also played for England national team on various occasions when the injuries didn’t come in the way.
I found his book as a very interesting read for myself personally. I’ve always admired him as a player and he’s always been one of my all time favorite players. After reading his book I realized how many similarities I find between him and myself when it comes to the character and the kind of person he was. But there were also things that I found very surprising and nothing like me.
He was the type of player that always had to win. In training or games, always taking things to the extremes and giving his 100% at any occasion. Way too competitive. Well, I was the same which often turned out into a fight with teammates and sometimes even coaches because I didn’t have any borders. I tried to set them but didn’t always manage to. Gerrard opened up about various little fights with his teammates and even some coaches just because he used to take a little too far. The crazy thing is that as a player you know that you have taken it too far right after it happens and that’s when the guilt feeling comes in. I like him, didn’t hold myself back after and straight away would go on to apologize in front of everyone, team and coaches. I never wanted to upset anyone but it just happened and the best thing to do after was to genuinely apologize for my craziness.
Another thing about him was overthinking. This is not so typical of men I think, so I found that very surprising. He used to overthink a lot of things during his career which affected his game. Was super unsure of himself. Wether he was good enough for his coaches and club. He needed to have things clear and obvious straight away about contracts and his future. When some questions were in the air, he wouldn’t sleep because he would run it over and over in his mind. Overthinking came as a massive distraction and his game at those times went downhill.
One thing that I found very familiar to myself was not being able to separate any private life problems from his performance. There are many players that are able to perform on their best ability even when their private life is a massive struggle. Gerrard wasn’t one of them. Every problem affected him on the pitch because his mind got super distracted. He would get on the pitch and he wouldn’t even think of football. I was the same way. I could only perform well when everything around my life was in good place. His parents were divorcing and those few months were the worst in his career and he struggled with the whole thing a lot. He was lucky to find a loving and faithful wife, that he raised family with and have four kids together. Because for a person like him, he needs that comfort around him in order to do well on the pitch. In a case of unhealthy relationship, his career would have not been as successful as it was. That’s what kept him to the high level of his game.
Respect. That’s another word how to describe him. He was all about respect for his teammates, coaches and opponents. I love the way he spoke of some opposition players. He admired ones that would come up and congratulate you after you just beat them. The ones that had enough courage to do that and he wasn’t hiding that he learned to be the same way through the years. He learned that you have to be a gentlemen and respect others. While you’re on the pitch, yes – you are in the war and battle but once the final whistle blows, you have to thank each other for the amazing minutes of praising the game of football together.
His family was the most important thing to him. Being close to home and loved ones was what mattered the most to him and I believe that’s why he ended up playing his whole life in just one club. Because he wanted to be close to his home. He needs to feel safe, he wants everything to be familiar. He spoke about his first European Championship with England national team. One the 3rd day being away from home he was already getting homesick and struggled to be there. It sounds a little crazy to me. Imagine, you are representing your country in the final round of European Championship, and after just few days you want to go home because you miss you family. It sounds insane to me. You’re living your dream, your family and home won’t go anywhere. They are waiting for you to get back and they are supporting you, but still, at such a high stage, he just wanted to go home and literary struggled through the whole trip. Almost pushed himself to enjoy playing.
Injuries is what kept him away from even higher heights of the game. Always coming in the way and at the worst times. I believe this comes down to the emotional side of him. Always overthinking, worrying. It distracts you and it isn’t just your mind that is being distracted. Your body as well and that way he just ended up getting hurt again and again.
I love reading books on different people and personalities because we make one image of them in our mind but the autobiography tells you what they really are like and there is so much we can learn from others.
Can’t wait to see Steve G as a head coach of the Liverpool FC senior team one day!