Liverpool’s Gerrard set for starring role at Los Angeles Galaxy
Bruce Arena intends to play Steven Gerrard as much as possible and in a more attacking role in midfield when the Liverpool captain joins the Los Angeles Galaxy this summer.
Gerrard ended speculation over where his future lay on Wednesday when he announced he will join the Major League Soccer champions from July. The former England skipper’s decision to end his long association with the Anfield club was, in part, due to being told his playing time would be managed by Reds boss Brendan Rodgers.
It appears that will not be a problem at the Galaxy, whose head coach Arena has already started calling Gerrard "Stevie" and is keen to get him playing further up the pitch.
"I will manage his minutes, I’m going to try and get him on the field as much as possible," said Arena in a conference call. My best guess is that we will play him closer to a forward than towards our centre-backs. He’s a player with obviously very good attacking qualities and we want to get him pushed as close to goal as we can, when we can.
"I think we can accommodate that through a variety of positions. It’ll take a little bit of time but we’ll get it figured out by the time Stevie arrives."
Arena revealed the Galaxy have been tracking Gerrard for some time. But he admitted to thinking, until recently, the possibility of bringing him to the west coast club was remote.
"On and off over the years, Stevie has always been a name that we’ve examined as a potential player to come to the LA Galaxy," said Arena. "I would say my thinking was that it was going to be a long shot to acquire Stevie, but as we got closer towards the end of the year the interest on both parties picked up and we were very fortunate to be able to secure a deal."
Arena is confident Gerrard will have few problems adapting at the StubHub Center.
"He’s English speaking which makes the transition a little bit easier, he’s been to the United States a number of times, knows players on our team so I think when he steps in he’ll be able to contribute right away," said Arena.
"He understands the challenge that lies ahead, he knows this isn’t going to be an easy process, he has no desire to come to a league where he’s in retirement. He wants to continue to excel, he’s such a great professional that I think that we’re going to see he’s going to come in and make our team better right from the start."
Gerrard is expected to link up with former Liverpool team-mate Robbie Keane at the Galaxy, with Arena confirming he expects the Irishman to remain with the club despite speculation linking him with a move.
"They’re two outstanding players, they’ve played together before, they know each other," added Arena. "I think in a short period they’re going to be able to have a great understanding of each other, and I’m quite confident that we’ll see that they’ll be able to create chances for the LA Galaxy."