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05th Jun 2024

Steven Gerrard reveals two England teammates he ‘pretended to like’

Callum Boyle

Steven Gerrard

Thankfully, they’re all friends now

Steven Gerrard once admitted that the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United led to tension during the international breaks with England.

Gerrard featured for the Three Lions 114 times and is the country’s fourth-most capped player behind Peter Shilton, Wayne Rooney and David Beckham.

Although he played a prominent role in the side, Gerrard was unfortunately unable to help break England’s long wait for silverware.

Back in 2017, the former Liverpool skipper was asked about how his relationships with Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand differ from his playing days to post-retirement.

He said: “When you’re lining up in the tunnel against Rio and Gary Neville you want to do everything in your power to beat them – there’s hatred there, that’s exactly how it is.

“When you meet up for England at that time, you pretend you like them – but your career finishes, their career finishes and your friendship starts for real. I’ve got nothing but respect for Rio as a player, played for a top club all his life, he’s a good fella as well.

Steven Gerrard

Ferdinand also made a similar point in 2018. Speaking to The Times magazine, he said: “It overshadowed things. It killed that England team, that generation.

“One year we would have been fighting Liverpool to win the league, another year it would be Chelsea. So I was never going to walk into the England dressing room and open up to Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, John Terry or Joe Cole at Chelsea, or Steven Gerrard or Jamie Carragher at Liverpool because of the fear they would take something back to their club and use it against us.

“I didn’t realise that what I was doing was hurting England at the time. I was so engrossed, so obsessed with winning with Man United. Nothing else mattered.”

Since Gareth Southgate’s appointment, the harmony around the England squad has changed, with the Three Lions boss making it his priority to put club differences aside when on international duty.

As a result, England have made it to a quarter final and semi final of the World Cup and the final of the European Championships during his tenure.

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