Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 7/31/13
Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier has revealed how Steven Gerrard told him it was the “best day of his career” when the Frenchman handed the captain’s armband to the midfielder for the first time. The Kop hero is set to become the Reds’ longest-serving captain in the club’s illustrious history this season and Houllier believes that handing Gerrard the responsibility at a young age helped him to realize his potential as a great leader. “I met Stevie after the Champions League final in Istanbul and asked him if that was the best day of his life,” the ex-Anfield boss told the Liverpool Echo. “He said no, and told me the best day of his career was when I gave him the captain’s armband at Liverpool. “Don’t forget he was 22 when I made him captain but you could see he was a natural born leader and he could have an influence and an impact on everybody.” Houllier recalled how he was taken aback by Gerrard’s leadership qualities beyond his years when watching him in an U-19s game — a catalyst in the Huyton native’s rapid promotion to the senior squad. “I remember Steve Heighway asked me to watch a game because I told him I needed a right-winger,” Houllier added. ”He called me to a game where Richie Partridge was involved and he thought he would be the answer to our problems on the right. “I think it was an U-19 game against Blackburn, and I remember in the middle of the park there was this boy I didn’t know at the time going box to box, shouting at people and already behaving like a leader. He was quick, he was tackling and could see a pass quickly. “Even if we had taken Richie with us and given him a chance, I wanted to have Stevie. At the time the coaches said we couldn’t because he’s always injured. I said: ‘I’m the boss, so he is coming with us.’ “Sammy Lee and Patrice Bergues looked after him very carefully and gradually he became the player we know today.” The Frenchman had confidence that Gerrard would revel in the captaincy role and the decision proved to be a masterstroke as the 33-year-old achieved a seamless transition in replacing Sami Hyypia. “Sami was — and still is — a huge figure at Liverpool, but Stevie is a natural leader and I thought the armband would boost his game even more,” Houllier explained. ”At the same time, Sami was not performing that well at that time and I think the captaincy was a pressure on him. He understood that and he was quite happy with the decision as Sami is an intelligent player. “You have different levels of players. There are Premier League, international and world-class levels. The world-class level is players at the peak of their career and there’s only maybe 50 maximum in the whole world. Stevie moved from a Premier League player to an international player and then world-class. “You win things with world-class players. I was lucky enough to have Stevie at the right time when I was at Liverpool, and even when I left they won the [UEFA] Champions League. He played a major part in that.” In addition to his Anfield duties, the Liverpool No. 8 also wears the armband for England. His proud former manager believes both sides will continue to benefit from Gerrard’s leadership qualities. “I am pleased for Stevie,” the Thérouanne-born manager concluded. “It is a good reward to be captain of England. He must be absolutely over the moon. “He is a winner and he will give an urge to drive them on all the time. He never gives up. He leads by example, giving a lot of mental and physical energy to himself and the team. “His game should be even better. He likes responsibility. He likes when people trust him. That is when he can surpass himself and deliver even more.” Photo via LiverpoolFC.com Filed under: Fenway Sports Group, Headlines, Liverpool FC, Liverpool FC Staff, Premier League, Soccer
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Brady issues statement on Facebook after having suspension lifted

Don Orsillo reportedly asked to lie about being fired by NESN

Matt Cassel believes Bills will keep three quarterbacks

St. Louis police seize scalpers' World Series tickets to give to friends

Eli Manning happy Tom Brady will play NFL season opener

Phil Kessel has shed 13 pounds this summer

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Cam Newton addresses ‘gang’ photo on Instagram

Steelers defense is younger and faster but not better

Duke basketball to visit White House next Tuesday

Report: Cowboys have interest in Broncos RB Montee Ball

NFL owners to discuss changing Goodell's disciplinary role

Report: Eagles trade Matt Barkley to Arizona Cardinals

WATCH: Ben Revere gifted Matt Wieters a home run

Judge Sarah Thomas as an NFL official, not a female NFL official

Redskins skip Robert Griffin III in jersey countdown

Wisconsin vs Alabama preview

Simona Halep popular with fans who want to kiss her

Patriots planned on raising a "Brady banner on opening night

Braves and Phillies sucking at the same time is rare

Montana St. linebacker delivers bone crushing hit in opener

Despite loss, all eyes still on Jim Harbaugh, Wolverines

Kirk Cousins discusses what it’s like to be called ‘Kurt’

Playoffs or not, Bryce Harper is the NL MVP

Donald Sterling’s wife Shelly seeking alimony

Chicago Bears and Jay Cutler: A love/hate relationship

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Wisconsin vs Alabama preview

Tom Brady issues statement on Facebook

Robert Griffin III and a dream deferred

Best, worst surprises of NFL preseason

The Gospel Of Harbaugh prepares for its ultimate test of faith

Meet the Utah Utes, the pluckiest program in college football

Iman Shumpert will name daughter Iman Shumpert Jr.

Dallas company celebrates Romo with DirecTV 'crownies'

Top 10 storylines for Week 4 of the NFL preseason

Matt Williams is still hopelessly married to the idea of the closer’s role

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker