Los Angeles: Former England midfielder Steven Gerrard is enjoying his stint in Major League Soccer (MLS) after representing Liverpool for more than a decade in the English Premier League (EPL).
The 35-year-old Liverpool icon turned out in the club's famous red jersey for 17 years in England's top flight before joining MLS outfit Los Angeles Galaxy earlier this year.
Steven Gerrard. Pic/AFP
Having endured the stifling pressure and intensity of the English game throughout his career, the central midfielder feels that the calmer environs of the MLS are quite relaxing.
"It's more relaxed here. The intensity is less. People come for a day out with the family - it's more of a festival atmosphere," Gerrard was quoted as saying by the Guardian on Saturday.
"The Premier League is aggressive. In England, you feel the pressure rolling down from the terraces. You feel like you have to impress the manager every day, to impress tons of people every time you perform. After 17 years in that pressure cooker, America's a great change," he added.
"A lot of people have noticed how different I am in LA. Alex (his wife), my family and friends see a huge difference. It's the first time Alex has seen me without that pressure I've lived with for so long -- and the first time the kids (daughters Lilly-Ella, Lexie and Lourdes) have seen me so free and easy.
"At home you have to be selective about where you go, because there is so much attention on me. Here, it's the opposite. I'm a Z-lister. It's perfect for me. I feel so much lighter."
But having played for Liverpool from the age of eight to just a few days before his 35th birthday, Gerrard still misses home. Reminiscing about his time at Anfield, the former England player revealed that he still likes to watch his home town club in action.
"The first time was when Liverpool were at Stoke for the first game of the season. I watch every game, and I do wish I was 25 again and captain, and leading them out in front of our supporters," he said.
"I loved playing in the Premier League and the Champions League. We've got the best league in the world, so you are going to miss it -- especially when you’ve spent a lifetime at your home town club."