Football

Steven Gerrard reveals he was taught to hate Manchester United

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Steven Gerrard has revealed the extent of his hatred for Manchester United in his autobiography, serialised by the Daily Mail.

The former Reds captain ended his 17-year tenure on Merseyside this summer, moving to MLS side LA Galaxy, and claimed he was "taught to loathe" the Red Devils both as a budding youngster in Liverpool's ranks and as a fan.

Reflecting upon his experiences against the 20-time league champions, Gerrard insisted that hating them came as part and parcel of being a Liverpool fan.

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"It was drilled into our brains, hardening our hearts and conditioning our souls as Liverpool fans," he said.

"It was tattooed into the head of every Liverpool fan. We had never liked each other, as clubs or cities, but the animosity had become deeper."

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One regret for the 35-year-old would have undoubtedly been his failure to steer Liverpool to the Premier League title, far from helped by the instatement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 1986, and while Gerrard's despise for United never wavered he insisted that to an extent it mellowed.

"Over the years, especially when I was in the same England team alongside great United players like Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney, my feelings became more layered, but they never disappeared," he continued.

"I respected Ferguson and Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs; I even respected, grudgingly, what they had achieved as a club. But you never rolled over against United.

"If they got one over you, you fought back. You went in harder, with just a little more crunch, just to let them know it really was personal.

"For more than 26 years, I had always felt compelled to show fire towards them. They were the enemy.

"Their shirt is the only one I won't allow in my house. I have a big collection of shirts I've swapped with other players from different clubs — but not one from United."

Gerrard even revealed that, during his days as an England player, team-mate Gary Neville would often come and speak to him about the prospect of joining the Manchester outfit, insisting that Ferguson himself had sent him.

The Liverpool legend was never convinced of making the move, though, which might ultimately have been the right decision after it was unveiled in Ferguson's own autobiography that he was never, in fact, one of Gerrard's biggest fans.

"In 2004, Ferguson had called me 'the most influential player in England, bar none' and suggested that 'anyone would love to have Gerrard in their team'."

"So I was a little hurt and surprised when 13 years later, Ferguson used his autobiography to insist he was one of the few who never thought I was 'a top, top player'.

"I wouldn't lose any sleep but I was slightly taken aback after all his praise."

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Topics:
Football
Steven Gerrard
Liverpool

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