Liverpool: Steven Gerrard insists that he is not yet ready to drop into a deeper role as Manchester United veteran Paul Scholes has done, as he feels that he still has a lot more to give in an advanced position for Liverpool.
The 32-year-old has distanced himself from emulating the dropping-back performed by the Red Devils maestro, who came out of retirement in January of this year, and has the backing of new boss Brendan Rodgers in doing so.
Gerrard told reporters: "I think people want me to say I can`t play the same way any more, that I have to go deeper to control the game from deep and play a slower game - but believe me, it`s not happening. Not yet."
"I`ve spoken to the manager about what role he sees me filling and he sees me as an attacking midfielder."
"That`s good, because I believe passionately I can play a dynamic energy-type game."
"People keep mentioning Paul Scholes, but he`s four years older than me! As we work through the ages, maybe 33 or 34, then perhaps I might be dropping a bit deeper, but I don’t think that time has arrived yet."
"Look, I`m prepared to adapt - I`ll do whatever the manager wants - but I can still play the same way and I don`t think anything is going to change in my game this season.
"I`ll play the Scholes role when I feel it`s time, but it`s not time yet. I can play that role no problem, I played it when I was 21, so I can do it when I`m 32, 33 or 34.
"That`s the key for me, I know I can still produce the figures. I`ve got [backroom staff] Darren Burgess and Glenn Driscoll at Liverpool who collect those figures every day in training.
"They measure my heart-rate, the amount of running you do - high tempo, low tempo - and they haven`t come to me yet and said, `Listen, I don`t think you can play the way you have for the last 10 years.`
"One day, they will do that. They`ll come to me and say, `You might need to adapt your game`, but it hasn’t come to that yet."
The Liverpool skipper points to his personal performances at Euro 2012 for England as evidence that he can continue to be effective, injuries permitting, adding: "I`m 32, and had major surgery on my groin and a big operation on my ankle through bad luck, but they`re gone.
"I`ve only had half of the previous two seasons and it`s been frustrating, because of the injuries. But I want to take my form from the Euros into next season - that is my plan."
"My groin [tests] now are better than they`ve been from ages 21-30, and my figures in the Euros were as good as any player."
"On the other side of it, I know I`m not going to be bombing forward every few seconds without a care of what`s happening behind me."
"I have to play with my brain and control and pick the right time to go. I appreciate I’m no spring chicken, but I don`t think I have to justify myself or say I`m ready to play a different position."
"I`m not thinking about five years` time - I might not want to play in five years, I don`t know. I`m not looking that far ahead," Gerrard mused.
"I`ll play while I`m enjoying it and feel I can have a big impact. If, in a couple of years, I don`t think I can be the player I want to be, then maybe it`s time to stop. I don’t know."
"But I`m impressed by the new manager, excited about what he wants to do, and looking forward to being part of a brighter future for Liverpool."
First Published: Friday, August 17, 2012, 11:24