‘A special, caring and loving man’: Steven Gerrard pays emotional tribute to former manager Gerard Houllier

'Gerard was at the forefront in terms of shaping me into a better player, a better person, a better leader’

Andy Newport
Tuesday 15 December 2020 11:42
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<p>Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Gerard Houllier and Sami Hyypia parade Liverpool’s trophies in 2001</p>

Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Gerard Houllier and Sami Hyypia parade Liverpool’s trophies in 2001

Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has paid an emotional tribute to former Anfield boss Gerard Houllier.

The former Liverpool and Aston Villa manager died at the age of 73 on Monday.

Rangers boss Gerrard said: "I would like to pay tribute to him. Yesterday was a really tough day for myself and (Rangers assistant boss) Gary McAllister.

READ MORE: Houllier restored belief to a generation of Liverpool fans

"Gerard obviously played a huge part in both our careers - and also our lives. So the news yesterday was very difficult to take. It's a huge blow.

Steven Gerrard celebrates with Gerard Houllier after scoring in the Uefa Cup

"I came in yesterday morning really happy after our result at the weekend and then to receive that news was a bitter blow.

"He was a special man, a caring man, a loving man. He was more than just a manager."

Gerrard added: "Throughout your career, different people look after you and shape you.

"In your younger days Steve Heighway, Hugh McAuley and Dave Shannon for example. Then they pass you on to the first-team staff which was Gerard Houllier, Phil Thompson and Sammy Lee, who did an incredible job in terms of where I was at my age and as a player.

"Gerard was at the forefront of that in terms of shaping me into a better player, a better person, a better leader.

"So I've got an awful lot to thank the man for and I'm finding it really hard to come to terms with it right now."

The Ibrox boss added: "I always try and take all the best bits from all the coaches and managers I worked. It's impossible for me add the charisma, the care and the love that Gerard carried.

"I think every player that has worked with him will certainly echo that. He was just a special human being.

"This is not a guy who would focus solely on football and what you gave to him in terms of the relationship player-to-manager. This was someone who, at my age, wanted to change me as a human being into an elite professional, who wanted me to be a better person, who wanted me to really understand the tactics and the game in a different way and become an even better player and build all the other stuff around the talent I had at that age. I'll never forget that.

"I need to send my condolences to his family who I know will be in pain at the moment. It's just a sad, sad day for football and for me personally. It will take me a little while to get over this one."

PA

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