Stevie g should never be leaving the premier league, play him higher goals goals goals!!!!— Gary Gardner (@22Gards) January 5, 2015
With Steven Gerrard’s summer departure from Liverpool confirmed at the weekend, numerous fans and fellow professionals have been left shocked that the club would let their long-time captain depart.
That includes Aston Villa youngster Gary Gardner, who having previously been compared to Gerrard when coming up from the club’s ranks, has often spoken of his desire emulate the former England skipper.
“I’m a central midfielder and I like to bomb on and score goals and it was Gerrard who was my favourite player when I was growing up,” he said of his idol in 2012.
“That’s because he is an all-round midfielder who has got everything. He can tackle, shoot, pass and score goals. Gerrard is my idea of the perfect player.
“He has got everything you need in your locker to be a midfielder and he has been the driving force in Liverpool and England sides for ages. He’s class.”
That class was further underlined on Monday night, when Gerrard’s brace helped Liverpool record a 2-1 FA Cup victory at League Two side AFC Wimbledon, causing the footballing community to exclaim that a planned move to MLS would be premature.
As for Gardner, the promising midfielder’s career has been hampered in recent seasons following a series of serious knee injuries, but a solid loan spell at Brighton & Hove Albion over the first half of this campaign has led to hope that he could still fulfil his potential at Villa Park.
His future with Paul Lambert’s side could in fact be tied to Gerrard’s plans, with want-away teammate Fabian Delph touted as a potential replacement at Anfield, thus giving the 22-year-old a possible route to the Claret and Blue's first-team.