Steven Gerrard reaches 500 games for Liverpool at Blackburn on Saturday, insisting it is medals – not accolades – that drives him on.
The Liverpool skipper has only just retained a measure of full fitness following a groin problem, during a period in which the Anfield club have plunged out of the Champions League as well as the Premier League’s top four.
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So Gerrard maintains the importance of securing a Champions League spot for next season – by finishing in the top four – far outweighs any personal success with such an appearances milestone.
He says: “It is a really proud thing to reach milestones from a personal point of view, a great feeling. But I would like to think when I hang up my boots I will look back on prizes not personal milestones.
“As a player I never, ever think I am in the top this or that. Although I do have a confidence now that I am a good player, and that I can compete at a high level, but that’s it.
“It’s great to have these accolades, but it doesn’t mean much without prizes.
“Football excites me and the big prizes excite me even more for club and country. You want to win them all. I want to win what I can for Liverpool, and for England, and I’d love to look back at the end of it and feel as if I have achieved everything I can in that respect.”
Gerrard admits he never considered such a landmark when he started out, also against Blackburn, 11 years ago facing the likes of Chris Sutton and Tim Sherwood.
He said: “When you are such a young age you don’t look too far ahead. It has always been drummed into me by my dad and my coaches not to look too far ahead.
“At that stage when I started out, a long career wasn’t even in my mind, because maybe you don’t think you’re good enough, or you dare not look ahead.
“You just want one game, then a few games, and you can’t start thinking you have made it. Not ever.
“I never dreamed I would get so many games, and it is a great feeling to hit that landmark.”