‘Aggressive’ pursuit lands Gerrard

first_img Press Association The midfielder admits had the Reds offered him a new contract last summer he would not be bringing an end an association which stretches back to when he was eight years old. But an extension to his existing deal was not raised with the player until November – after Gerrard had expressed his surprise that no talks had been forthcoming – by which time he had already been told by Brendan Rodgers his playing time would be managed. Such a tactic had already seen him left on the bench for Liverpool’s Champions League match against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu and that, combined with the delay in negotiations, gave interested parties the encouragement they needed to make approaches. History has shown – most pertinently in his dalliance with Chelsea in 2005 which was only averted after a last-minute intervention by then chief executive Rick Parry – Gerrard needs to feel he is wanted but the current regime, by accident or design, did not heed those lessons. “Their (the Galaxy’s) pursuing me was very aggressive,” Gerrard told lagalaxy.com. “The talks I’ve had with them have been very positive, they basically told me what I wanted to hear, told me about the winning mentality of the club, what their goals are for the future. “Having spoken to the manager Bruce Arena and the people above him they are very aggressive and they want success and that is what I want and that is how I want to finish my career. “I’d like to think I’ve got the same attitude as the people who have made this signing happen – the manager, the CEO and the owner, they like to see themselves as winners.” The Los Angeles Galaxy learned a valuable lesson from Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard’s past in telling him “what he wanted to hear” in their aggressive pursuit of the midfielder. The 34-year-old will leave Anfield at the end of this season after confirming he will be joining the reigning Major League Soccer champions in the summer. Both Gerrard and Galaxy themselves describe the recruitment process as “aggressive”, which is in stark contrast to the way Liverpool handled his contract negotiations. Galaxy president Chris Klein said, helped by the backing of owner Philip Anschutz, they went in hard in their targeting of the player. “The LA Galaxy continue to compete for championships and strive for unparalleled success each year, and signing Steven is another example of Mr Anschutz’s continued commitment to the growth of soccer in Los Angeles and North America,” he said. “We were aggressive in our pursuit of Steven and look forward to his contributions to our club both on and off the field.” Having been told his game-time would be reduced over the coming season Gerrard felt he was ready for a move as he still has plenty to offer. “I think it is time for a fresh challenge in my life,” added the midfielder. “At this stage of my career I think the timing is right to move on, but I still feel like a player. “I’ve watched a lot of their games and I still know I can perform well for the next couple of years so I want to go into a set-up with a winning mentality with a team that is used to winning. “I am not going over there for a holiday or to enjoy myself. I am going there to win; if I win and play well then my life becomes enjoyable.” Gerrard admits he hopes the move will also be beneficial to his family. “Football is my life and it will continue to be so for the next couple of years,” he said. “There is also a huge bonus involved in terms of where they (Galaxy) are located, that will be nice for my family also. “The biggest challenge will be settling in. I’ve lived in Liverpool all my life and am a Scouser through and through. “But you only get one life and it is important to try different things, new experiences and it is a big thing for my children to take them out of their comfort zone and give them a life experience to allow them to develop as humans as well.” Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers cannot wait to work alongside his new team-mate, and believes it will prove to be a great move for all involved. “I think he’s at a point in his career where he wants to try something new,” the United States international told Sky Sports News HQ. “Of course, I don’t want to speak for him, but this obviously is the biggest club in the United States. “Like David (Beckham), or like Robbie Keane, I think those guys wanted to experience something totally different. We’re excited to have him.” He added: “I think it’s a great move for the Galaxy. We won the championship last year and sometimes it’s difficult to repeat yourself the following year. So to bring in a guy with that kind of experience, who’s been so successful, I think it’s a great move. “I’m just excited to see how he fits in.” last_img read more

Syracuse men’s basketball roundtable: Looking back at the season’s 1/3 mark

first_imgWas Frank Howard’s absence the only thing preventing Syracuse from being a Top 25 team all year?B.H: If Syracuse had beaten UConn, SU may never have fallen out of the poll. With Howard, the Orange would’ve beaten the Huskies, as Jalen Carey’s early turnovers against previously unseen pressure would’ve been avoided and Syracuse may have defended UConn’s 3-point shooters better. But Howard is a shell of his last-season self so far. He rarely attacks the basket and hasn’t found his 3-point touch. So yes, his absence is the reason Syracuse hasn’t been ranked every week. But he’ll need to get back to last season’s form to keep the Orange in the Top 25.C.D: To a degree, yes. Both Frank Howard and Jalen Carey suffered injuries before the season, and when Carey returned, he still wasn’t 100 percent, nor did he practice much before SU’s losses. Both players not being fully healthy ultimately led to the Orange’s demise from the Top 25. However, Syracuse is a much better team with Howard in as starter. Howard adds a veteran leadership that SU lacked when it was Carey and Battle manning the point. He is the best facilitator and knows the 2-3 zone as well as anyone else. The absence of Howard may have been a contributing factor toward Syracuse’s drop from the Top 25, but it was not the only reason behind it. There’s much more that needs addressing.M.G: There’s a good chance his absence has prevented SU from being Top 25. When he’s on the floor, everything appears to be under control. In a raucous environment at Cameron Indoor last year, for example, he handled the pressure and noise admirably. That presence goes a long way during ACC road play. Syracuse has a lot of time off in the next four weeks and that gives Howard the time he needs to get back to himself. He “didn’t miss a shot” this summer, head coach Jim Boeheim said. While an exaggeration, the point was clear: Howard could be on track to have a stellar senior year. Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Published on December 11, 2018 at 9:56 pm Almost a third of the way into the season, Syracuse (7-2) is in the midst of a five-game winning streak. The Orange haven’t lost since their two losses in 24 hours at Madison Square Garden last month. There have been positives in the SU backcourt but negatives down low as Syracuse seeks to keep its winning streak alive.Here’s what our beat writers think about three major topics so far.Are Syracuse’s centers its weakest position group?Billy Heyen: Yes. The Orange have two point guards they trust and a number of effective wing players. Syracuse has the ability in the middle to find success: a 7-foot-2 rim protector in Paschal Chukwu, good hands and footwork of Bourama Sidibe, and the playmaking of small-ball center Marek Dolezaj. But it hasn’t come together. When SU has played star centers, like Oregon’s Bol Bol and Georgetown’s Jessie Govan, there hasn’t been much defensive resistance. As Jim Boeheim said, Syracuse needs its centers to be a strong team in the long run. But so far, they’ve been bad.Charlie DiSturco: Yes. Syracuse’s centers have struggled immensely with both scoring, defense and foul discipline. Even Oshae Brissett, a forward, averages 3.4 rebounds per game more than Paschal Chukwu — and Elijah Hughes outrebounds Bourama Sidibe. This group of centers have potential, but they have been unable to stop other talented bigs, like Georgetown’s Jessie Govan Saturday. Every other position group has multiple players that are regular contributors at some capacity. The centers do not.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMatthew Gutierrez: Without question. Aside from the centers’ lack of scoring and defense, they haven’t been great in one area they have complete control of: boxing out. Several times against Georgetown, the centers were caught ball watching. It happened at MSG on repeat and, while they’ve improved, there’s one place the centers can get better real fast. By establishing firm rebounding position, they’ll be less susceptible to second-chance points, which drag on the defense.Has Elijah Hughes lived up to his expectations? B.H: The consensus was that Hughes would bring shooting and instant offense. He has. Especially with Frank Howard still not playing like he was last season, Hughes has been a key third cog with Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett. There’ve been some games where Hughes is too content to stay outside and shoot, but then just when it seems he’s having an off night, he gets hot. That happened early in the second half against Georgetown, when he hit three 3s in a handful of minutes to get Syracuse right back in the game.C.D: I’d say so. He has joined Oshae Brissett and Tyus Battle as Syracuse’s three-headed monster and has been extremely consistent in close games. He has been the best shooter on the team and even flashes some dominance inside the paint. Aside from tangible skills, Hughes also provides a spark for SU. He made a few big 3s down the stretch and was a big help to Battle as the Orange mounted a comeback. On any given day, Hughes has the potential to be the best player on the floor, something not expected when the season started.M.G: Probably. Hughes’ biggest room for growth: involving others. He’s a capable one-on-one player who has exemplified an ability to knock down big shots, especially from deep. That’s going to be key as the defenses SU faces improve during conference play. He’s created for others only in spurts, so it’s not a matter of if. He can attack off the dribble and suck defenders his way. Syracuse could just use a little more of that.last_img read more