Steven Gerrard claims Sir Alex Ferguson's opinion of him that he is not a "top, top player" left him feeling "gutted", but revealed Ferguson tried to sign him for Manchester United on multiple occasions. The Liverpool captain also admitted that Chelsea’s bids for him in 2005 and 2006 did "turn his head", but he is pleased he made the decision to stay at Anfield.
In Ferguson’s best-selling book, My Autobiography, the former manager writes that he never classed Gerrard as an elite player. The England captain has since revealed that Ferguson tried to sign him numerous occasions, including when he was still a schoolboy, and also in 2002/03.
"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," Gerrard told The Clare Balding Show on BT Sport 1.
"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."
Gerrard nearly signed for Chelsea for £32m in 2005 after leading Liverpool to Champions League success, but he says he is delighted that he made the final decision to stay at Anfield, despite the lure of trophies at Stamford Bridge.
"They [Chelsea] tried [to complete the move] on two occasions in 2005 and 2006," the 33-year-old said.
"I am Liverpool man through and through but I have to admit it did turn my head, because big things were happening at Chelsea.
"They were spending huge amounts of money and at Liverpool at the time we were struggling and my relationship with [Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez] was a bit up and down.
"I have openly admitted that it did turn my head, but now I can honestly admit from the bottom of my heart the best decision I have made was to stay at the club that I love."