I’ve always found Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney to be similar characters – tremendously gifted, central to their respective teams, highly regarded by their peers and irresistible to watch on the pitch.
But are they really that similar?
It’s hard not to be impressed by Steven Gerrard. He gives his 110% on the pitch every game, no matter what the occasion and quite remarkably, has trascended to a level of playing where he just bangs out games at high consistency, without any hint of a drop in form.
He is the Liverpool captain, a Scouser by heart and soul and a product of the Liverpool academy. Despite the chances and temptations of greener pastures in London, Gerrard has stuck to his roots (for whatever reasons) and since winning the Champions League has refused to look back at what he left behind.
He has critics – he’s not so great as to avoid any criticism – but no one can deny the drive and quality he brings to the game. There are always questions about his ability to change the game or have any meaningful impact, whether he can show up in the big games…these questions are always answered with a match-turning goal or a superhuman performance, and the critics are silenced once again.
Under Rafael Benitez Gerrard has been pushed out to the right wing, from where he doesn’t do as much damage as before, but don’t let that fool you – he is the one Liverpool player ANY club in the world would snap up in a heartbeat – and that is praise enough for one of the top midfielders in the world.
Gerrard is tactically astute, can cross and play on the wings, can trackback, defend and tackles well, has a vicious shot and quality finishing to go with it, can play the Hollywood passes as well as the simple ones and is, perhaps, one of the most complete players in the business.
Wayne Rooney – boy wonder – has many detractors as well as admirers of his considerable talents. He is the most complete and talented striker on Manchester United’s books, the best striker England have at the moment and is easily one of the best strikers on form in the Premiership and in Europe at the moment (your mileage may vary).
He’s foul-mouthed, has visited brothels as a teenager, costs 27m and at the age of 21, is already established as one of the first names on the teamsheet whenever Manchester United or England come calling. He is also, like Gerrard, one of those rare players who any team in the world would love to snap up, such is his quality and talent.
In the early part of his career Wayne Rooney has had to play with Ruud van Nistelrooy and Michael Owen because of which he was played (and subsequently billed) as a support striker (23 goals in a season for a support striker aren’t bad, are they?), but he’s much more than that. Rooney’s versatile nature means that he can play target man, on the wings and even in midfield if the need arises.
You need a special brand of confidence to try the goals Rooney sometimes tries, and that can only come from an abundance of natural talent.
Like Gerrard, Rooney is also seen as being groomed for captaincy. He’s often given the captain’s armband, reflecting his importance to the team and the trust the manager places in him.
Steven Gerrard vs Wayne Rooney
Can Wayne Rooney be as good as Steven Gerrard in 3 years?