Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been signing the praises of Gary McAllister this weekend, following his appointment as our new first-team coach.
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Gerrard, who was quoted by our official website, spoke wistfully about playing alongside McAllister more than a decade ago – after Gerard Houllier signed the experienced Scot to help develop players such as our future captain.
The duo helped inspire the Reds to the treble in 2001, with McAllister playing a central role in all three of our victories. Gerrard admitted that he was dubious about the signing at first, but adds that he was quickly proved wrong.
“I was devastated [when he signed] to be honest,” he recalled. “I was thinking he’s going to come and take my place and I wasn’t going to play so my initial reaction was another top international midfielder to fight with.
“At the time I was trying to move Paul Ince and Jamie Redknapp out the way to establish myself and then [Gerard] Houllier went and bought Gary McAllister who was on the same level as the two I was trying to move.
“So it made my job an awful lot harder but when I first met him and trained with him my reaction changed because I knew he was going to help me an awful lot.
“I knew there was a player there that I could learn off both on and off the pitch. He took a shine to me and helped me a lot to progress as a footballer on the pitch but also how to be humble and be a decent person off it.
“So I owe Gary Mac an awful lot.”
He admits that he didn’t expect the veteran to make as big an impact as he did. However, McAllister proved all of his doubters wrong and became a legendary figure on Merseyside during his two-year stint at the club.
“Well I don’t think anyone at the time thought he was going to have the influence and didn’t think he was going to contribute as much as he did,” he said.
“Maybe even him himself didn’t realise it was going to go so well – it was like a dream for him. Everything he touched sort of turned to gold in the short time that he was here.
“But that was a credit to how well he looked after himself, how hard he trained and the sacrifices he made while he was here – I thought he was fantastic.”
Gerrard, who left Liverpool at the end of last season, made his LA Galaxy debut on Saturday. He played the full 90 minutes as the MLS giants beat Mexican side America 2-1 in a friendly. Former Reds striker Robbie Keane was among the scorers.