The Modern Day Stars Inspired by Steven Gerrard
Few players have had the tangible impact on a club that Steven Gerrard did at Liverpool.
Think of all the current Premier League champions greatest moments over the past 20 years and it's near impossible to not immediately think of Gerrard.
Gerrard always stepped up in the moments when it mattered most.
With a playing career spanning 18 years, Gerrard certainly left his mark on the footballing world. The former Liverpool midfielder earned plaudits from some of the very best to ever grace the pitch - both Zinedine Zidane and Pele hailed Gerrard as the best player in the world in the late 2000s.
While he clearly isn't short of admiration from those who came before him, what of the younger generation?
Let's take a look at the players who were inspired by Stevie G.
1. Dele Ali
Despite playing for Tottenham Hotspur, Dele Ali hasn't shied away from letting people know his admiration for the former Liverpool man, citing him and Ronaldinho as his two idols growing up.
While the former MK Dons star recognised Gerrard's magnificent ability, particularly for striking the ball and spraying pinpoint long-range passes, it was Gerrard's character that he was most impressed by.
Speaking to FourFourTwo Ali stated: "The main reason I admired him so much was because of his character. It didn’t matter how big the game was, he never seemed to get phased."
While the Spurs man is yet to recreate his idol's success, he believes Gerrard's mentality has had a positive effect on his own career claiming, like the former Liverpool star, he goes into each game with no fear.
2. Jack Wilshere
Ah what could have been. Had Wilshere's career not been a revolving door of hospital visits, then maybe, just maybe, he'd one day be talked about in the same breath as the Liverpool legend.
At just 21, with the world seemingly at his feet, Wilshere hoped he could emulate Gerrard's success. Although he acknowledged their playing styles weren't quite the same, he hoped to become a similar lynchpin to Arsenal as Gerrard was to Liverpool.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, the former Arsenal player stated: "He has been the heartbeat of Liverpool for years. He has also been the stand-out performer for England as well.
"He is a great role model for me. If I can get anywhere near as good as him and drive the team forward like he does, then I will be happy."
3. Raheem Sterling
After breaking into Liverpool's first-team at the tender age of 16, Sterling spent his formative professional years playing alongside the Liverpool legend. Although admitting to being initially starstruck, he quickly grew comfortable playing alongside Gerrard, who he cites had a positive impact on him not only as a player but also as a person.
Speaking to the Independent, Sterling claims just being around Gerrard made him reflect on how he could better himself both on and off the pitch:
"Coming from Liverpool I had people around me like Steven Gerrard that I looked up to and I’m looking at him and thinking 'what can I do within myself to be half the person and player he was."§
4. Tom Huddlestone
The former Hull City player, who once went 32 months without getting a haircut, was a big fan of Gerrard growing up, naming him alongside Eric Cantona and Marcel Desailly as his idols.
All too aware of Gerrard's mercurial talent Huddlestone once claimed the only way to stop him was to man-mark him with three players.
5. Harvey Elliot
If you are to believe the hype, this lad may be the heir to Gerrard's crown. He's got a long way to go to even lay a finger on it, but it's a career trajectory he'll be hoping he can follow as, after all, Gerrard is his footballing hero.
The pair actually met long before Elliot signed for Liverpool. As an eight-year-old, in QPR's academy, the pair lined up against each other in the tunnel as they led their teams out at Loftus Road...kind of. Elliot was the mascot that day, taking to the pitch alongside Joey Barton.