Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will play a key part in the club’s future even long after his playing days have ended, according to director of football Damien Comolli.
The 31-year-old England international signed a new contract extension yesterday which will almost certainly see him end his career at Anfield.
“There will be more highs and lows, there’s no doubt about it, as that’s part and parcel of being a football player at a top club,” Gerrard said.
“I’m confident moving forward that the club is going in the right direction.
“We’ve got a fantastic team, we’ve got the right owners in place and the right team behind our team, so I’m really confident we’ll have more good experiences in the future.”
The club Gerrard joined as an eight-year-old have already lined up an ambassadorial role for him when he does call it a day, although Comolli admits he already taps into the player’s considerable influence.
“The help is tremendous,” Comolli said. “Whenever we want to sign a young player, no matter what their age is, I ask Stevie to come to the academy to speak to a player, or have a word with someone at Melwood.
“He is always there to help and try to convince the boy to come to us, to tell the boy about his experiences of being at Liverpool, of coming through the academy and playing for the first team and for this fantastic fan base.
“It’s not only the help he gives on a daily basis to the ones who are here, it’s also the help he gives to help us bring talent to the club.
“Because it’s him, and because of what he’s done for the club and what he represents in England, when he talks to a young player it makes a difference.”
Comolli also pointed out that the ’Gerrard factor’ is still substantial when it comes to current professionals.
“We were talking to Jordan Henderson last summer and he was talking about training for a couple of days with Stevie for England,” Comolli told liverpoolfc.tv.
“He said that as soon as he trained the level went up fantastically. It’s about technical leadership as well, not only mental.
“Myself and Ian Ayre (managing director) took the view that we want to keep people like Stevie for the reasons I have talked about.
“As an ambassador he’s going to be around and can give advice to young players, he can give advice to players he would have played with.
“It’s just great to know he’ll be around for a long time.”
Manager Kenny Dalglish said Gerrard’s influence in the dressing room was immeasurable.
“Steven, being the club captain, is very impressive,” he said. “If there’s a problem to be sorted in the dressing room – which isn’t very often – he’ll deal with it.
“So he stands up to be counted on and off the pitch. He’s been a fantastic servant to the football club.”