England star's life in the media spotlight

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The Independent Football

As one of England's most talented footballers Steven Gerrard lives every day of his life in the full glare of the media spotlight.

Only on Sunday the Liverpool captain faced the press in the wake of his side's thumping victory over Newcastle at St James' Park.

He expected to see in the new year on a high as he backed the table-topping side to clinch their first Barclays Premier League title in 2009.

But the father-of-two was brought crashing back down to earth after being charged this morning with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray following an alleged brawl at a Southport night-spot, which left a 34-year-old local man with facial injuries.

It is not the first time 28-year-old Gerrard has been at close quarters with Merseyside Police.

In April, a court heard his father Paul reveal how he turned to an underworld fixer to stop a gangster from terrorising Gerrard and threatening to shoot him in the legs.

Mr Gerrard said Liverpool provided extra security and he also contacted police during a two-year reign of terror.

He said his son's luxury car was smashed up and he was chased home from training as criminals attempted to extort large sums of cash from the footballer.

Twelve months ago Gerrard's wife Alex Curran was held captive by masked men during a robbery at their home in Formby, Merseyside.

Four men wearing balaclavas raided the property and stole jewellery as the couple's two young daughters Lilly-Ella and Lexie slept upstairs.

Gerrard was told the news as he left the pitch after leading his team to victory against Marseille in the Champions League.

Curran, a model and fashion columnist, was herself questioned by police following a fight at the Shangri-La restaurant in Liverpool in August 2006. No charges were brought.

On the pitch, Gerrard's natural talent saw him picked up by coaches at Liverpool's youth set-up.

By the time he was 19, he had become Liverpool's first-choice central midfielder and when he was just 20, Kevin Keegan picked him for England's Euro 2000 squad.

But it proved to be one of the toughest periods of his professional life as he became desperately homesick and played only 29 minutes during the whole tournament.

Sven-Goran Eriksson's arrival, however, appeared to be the making of Gerrard as an international. He scored in the famous 5-1 defeat of Germany in Munich but missed the subsequent 2002 World Cup due to injury.

Euro 2004 was a brighter time for him, though he was dogged by uncertainty over his future, and whether to move to Chelsea before being persuaded by friends and family to stay at Liverpool, with whom he would win the Champions League in 2005.

In 2006 he was named the Professional Footballers' Association player of the year and signed a new four-year contract with Liverpool the next year.

Gerrard has been capped by England 70 times and has captained his country on four occasions. He scored his 100th goal for the Reds against PSV Eindhoven in October.