#26: Steven Gerrard, ENG

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Often told he was too small to make it as a professional when he was young, Gerrard nevertheless grew into a giant among footballers -- not to mention 6-foot tall. Never forsaking his beloved Liverpool from the age of 9 onward-- except for a few trials elsewhere when the Reds dawdled on signing him to his apprentice papers at 14 -- he will be remembered as one of the Merseyside icons who enrich club lore.


At 31, Gerrard still very much has a part to play for England. Even if the blueprint for successfully deploying him alongside Frank Lampard in the England midfield was never properly developed, his attacking verve, technique and engine remain cherished weapons in the English arsenal. There perhaps never has been an English player as readily able to will his team to win games as Gerrard, and having been named as the Three Lions' captain by Roy Hodgson, this summer provides him perhaps one final chance to do so.




Expert's take: Arguably the most complete English player of his generation. Gerrard has natural drive in his game and knows where the goal is, too. At 32 when the Euros begin, less will be expected from Gerrard than in previous tournaments. -- Derek Rae


Stats That Matter:


• Needs one goal to become ninth player to score 150 goals for Liverpool


• 584 appearances for Liverpool, 10th-most in club history


• At 24 years and 360 days, he became the second-youngest European Cup-winning captain when Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005. Only Marseille’s Didier Deschamps was younger


• Named UEFA Footballer of the Year in 2005, the only English player to win in 14 years of the award


• Won every possible major trophy with Liverpool except Premier League title


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