Even if you’re not a Liverpool supporter or don’t particularly like the guy, it’s hard to argue against the widely held opinion that Steven Gerrard is one of the greatest players of the Premier League era.
Okay, so he never managed to win a Premier League winners’ medal, but there’s little doubt that he would have done had he not shown so much loyalty towards his beloved Reds.
Gerrard famously came close to joining Chelsea during the mid-2000s but ended up staying at Anfield until his spell as a Premier League footballer came to an end in 2015.
Who knows what he might have achieved at Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho.
Nevertheless, we’re still talking about a player who made the PFA’s Premier League Team of the Year on a remarkable eight separate occasions. Gerrard also won the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 2001 and the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2006. Oh, and he finished third in the voting for the 2005 Ballon d’Or award.
With 120 Premier League goals to his name, only 16 players in the history of England’s top division have scored more than the all-action midfielder, who retired last November.
Ferguson: Gerrard was not a 'top, top player'
But despite these impressive statistics, the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson raised eyebrows back in 2013 when he wrote in his controversial second autobiography: “I'm one of the few who felt Gerrard was not a top, top player."
Fergie’s surprising comments, needless to say, did not go down well with Liverpool fans.
How Gerrard reacted to Ferguson's comments
But how did Gerrard react at the time?
He was asked for his reaction while appearing on the Claire Balding Show - and his response to Ferguson’s comments was pretty impressive.
"I went on trial at Manchester United when I was 13 and had a letter off them wanting to sign me on a seven-year-deal," he told the BT Sport presenter.
"I’m a huge fan of Alex Ferguson and what he’s done in the game is fantastic, that’s the reason why he’s sold that many copies in the first week, I was generally a little bit gutted when I read that, the reaction of the papers, when he said I wasn’t a top, top player. But I won’t lose sleep over it, everyone is entitled to their opinion.
"He tried to sign me in early 2002/03, he tried to sign me again to play for United, I obviously refused, so I can’t really take it to heart too much. But I’m a bit gutted because I’m a big fan of his."
Fair play, Stevie.
Now watch the video here...
Did Ferguson feel bitter towards Gerrard?
Perhaps, as Balding suggested, Ferguson still felt a little bitter that Gerrard had rejected the offer to join the Red Devils all those years earlier.
But surely the Man United icon must have known at the time that there was never any realistic chance of the die-hard Liverpool hero agreeing on a move to Old Trafford?
Was Steven Gerrard a ‘top, top player’? Have your say by leaving a comment below.