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Steven Gerrard praises Carra, remains adorable while doing so

Speaking ahead of the 32-year-old's testimonial on Saturday, the skipper admits he wouldn't have nearly as many medals in his personal collection if it wasn't for Liverpool's No.23.



And in this frank and revealing interview about his close pal, Gerrard reflects on their early years together as well as Carragher's contribution in Istanbul and what the future might hold for the Bootle-born defender.


Can you remember the first time you met Jamie?

Yes, I was a young lad and Jamie was doing his apprenticeship. I came in to do work experience for a couple of weeks and it was my job to put his kit out and mop the floors. Obviously I did training too but you had to get used to the other jobs because they were the jobs I would be doing when I left school.

How was he with you at that stage?

He was a down-to-earth lad. Obviously he knew I was a local lad, so he, David Thompson, Jamie Cassidy and the rest of those lads took me under their wing and got me involved in some of the banter. They looked after me.

There are a couple of years between you - did you see a lot of each other in those days?

Not in the early years, no. My mates at that stage were Michael Owen and Stephen Wright - they were my age group. Jamie had his own friends in his own age group but we crossed paths quite a few times. I also went to watch him quite a bit for the reserves and the youth teams. I was well aware of who he was and knew he was a good player very early.

When you watched him at that stage, did you feel like he was someone who'd go on to have a career at Anfield?

Yes, but the first time I watched him he will only have been 16 or 17. It's still difficult at that age to know if someone's going to go all the way. But he obviously had a lot of sense in his game. You could hear straight away that he was a leader and a good organiser. Technically he was good too, but I'd be a liar if I said that straight away I knew he was going all the way to the top.

Do you remember his full debut in 1997 against Aston Villa - and what did you think when he scored?

Yes, I was at the game because Steve Heighway had given me tickets. Robbie Fowler was a big hero of mine at the time and I was looking forward to going to watch him play. It wasn't until I got to the game that I heard another local lad would be making his debut. I found out it was Carragher, and by that stage I'd met him around Melwood. To see him get his chance was fantastic, not only for him but for myself, because it showed the club was giving local lads a chance. When I saw him score the goal and then his reaction, I just wanted to follow suit and do the same thing.

And over the next few years, would you agree that maybe he didn't get the recognition he deserved?

Yes, of course. For too long when he first broke into the team he was underrated. People didn't really appreciate the job he was doing. Maybe that was because he was moved around a lot position-wise. But from his debut up until now, no one can ever fault Carra's attitude, his effort and his commitment to this football club.

What was the turning point in your view? Why did he suddenly become a real Kop hero?

The fans at Liverpool, the first thing they look for is whether someone's giving 100 per cent and wearing the shirt with pride. Over time Jamie has done this and proved himself to be a legend at the club. But for me, I've trained with him every day. I've seen him first hand and so maybe I appreciated him a little bit quicker.



Liverpool have won a lot of trophies over the last 10 or so years - how instrumental has Jamie been in that?

Without going over the top, I certainly wouldn't have the medal collection I've got without the part Jamie's played. The first trophies we won together was the treble in 2001. He played a massive part in that because that team was based on a solid defence under Gerard Houllier. Obviously he then played a massive part in the Champions League final and we certainly wouldn't have won that trophy without him. Together we have helped each other an awful lot and played a big part in the trophies we've both collected.

What, in your opinion, is his best performance in a Liverpool shirt?

It's difficult to pick out one because the guy's played more than 600 games. I could sit here forever talking about big performances he's put in. Obviously the one that stands out is the Champions League final when he was cramping up. He was fighting through the cramp and still getting blocks in. He put his body on the line for the cause. When you win big games and big trophies, a lot of people point to the heroes who score the goals but these things don't happen unless defenders are getting blocks in and battling through the pain.


Have you ever seen a better performance from a defender?

It's certainly right up there in the best performances I've ever played with. I'm really close to Jamie off the pitch and people reading this interview will think I'm biased, but for me, because of the consistency, he's the best defender I've ever played with.

As captain, how important has Jamie been for you as someone to talk to and confide in?

Everyone knows he's a big lover of football and he knows an awful lot about the game. So, to have someone older than me and with more experience than me to bounce ideas off, it's basically like having two captains. Me and Jamie always bounce ideas off each other and we're really close off the pitch as well. He's been a fantastic help throughout my career, not just as captain.

What's he like as a roommate?

He's a good roommate. We do a lot of laughing off the pitch and we've been through a lot of highs and lows together on the pitch. We've helped bring each other back down to earth and also pick each other up. We've become closer and closer as time's gone by and it's an absolute pleasure to be a teammate of his.

What would the last 10 or 12 years at Liverpool Football Club have been like without him?

We wouldn't have as many trophies and I don't think the club would have achieved what it has. The place would also have been a lot quieter because he's not just a fantastic player on the pitch, he's also a character off it. He contributes a lot to the team spirit and the atmosphere around this club. I know he's getting on a bit now and the grey hair is kicking in, but I hope to see Jamie here for many, many more years whether that be as a manager or coach or whatever aspect. I think he deserves to be at this club for a long time.

What would you say are his main qualities on the pitch?

Leadership, character, bravery, he's a winner. He's someone who before every game, when you look around the dressing room, you know going into battle that Jamie's on side and you know what you're going to get from him. He's someone you want on your team in difficult circumstances.

How do you think he'll ultimately be remembered in Anfield history?

He'll be remembered as a legend. All players who've won the Champions League will be remembered at this club but Jamie has been so consistent for such a long time and stacked up so many games. And look at the dedication and sacrifice he's put in to one club. I hope he gets the turnout he deserves at his testimonial and that will be a reward, a payback from the club to say thank-you for what he's done.

He's not the kind of player who shouts about what he's done. Do you think he'll be a little bit embarrassed on Saturday?


Maybe he will be, slightly, but I hope he and his family enjoy it. It's a day for him, all the people who have followed him, his dad, his teammates, his wife and kids. Jamie hasn't asked for a testimonial, he hasn't shouted his mouth off and said he deserves this or that. It's come to him and he thoroughly deserves it. It's just a shame from my point of view that I've got international commitments because I would have loved to have shared it with him.

You know him better than anyone at the club - what do you think the future holds for Jamie Carragher?

If people think he's only got a year or two left then they could be proved wrong. The Jamie Carragher I know looks after himself so well off the pitch that I can see him being involved in the first team for at least another two or three years at the top level. After that it depends on what Jamie wants. There's a time when every player has to take a backseat for someone else coming through. I know that's going to happen to me but I hope he stays on at the club in some capacity because his knowledge of the game and his love for the game means he's got an awful lot to give back.


SOURCE

CLASS, THEY HAZ IT.


(LOL @ Torres' ass being shown for most of this GIF)
Tags: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, club: liverpool fc, i love you all, interview, jamie carragher, steven gerrard
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  • Wednesday!

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