Manchester United legend Gary Neville has revealed that he embarked on a ‘full-on assault’ to persuade Steven Gerrard to leave Liverpool and move to Old Trafford.
Gerrard spent almost his entire career at Liverpool, playing 710 games and captaining the club for 12 years. He was one of the best midfielders in the world for much of that time but his Anfield future was uncertain for a period in the mid-2000s.
Gerrard has previously openly admitted to considering a move to Chelsea at that time and ‘flirting’ with the idea of leaving Liverpool early in Rafa Benitez’s tenure, before deciding to stay.
But while the Liverpool icon gave Chelsea’s interest the time of day, he shut down Neville’s attempts to get him to Manchester instead.
The ex-United skipper revealed there were a handful of times he tried to sell a transfer to Old Trafford to England teammates, with Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney other targets over the years.
“There were two or three times it happened with England with me, where I spoke to Alan Shearer during Euro 96, you know, I had a conversation with him,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“I was more junior at that time so I couldn't have a serious conversation with him. Definitely with Wayne Rooney, we had a little chat. But he was a younger player, so you can't put too much pressure on.”
But it was more intense when it came to Gerrard.
“With Steven, it was a full-on assault. Let's get him out of there. I want him out of there, Neville explained. “To be fair, Stevie's answer, he said: ‘My family and I would never be able to go back to Liverpool ever again.’
“It was a very short conversation. He was very loyal, Liverpool fans. [Chelsea captain] John Terry probably got about ten minutes out of him and I got about 30 seconds.”