The future of Liverpool talisman Steven Gerrard has evoked intense speculation all season. The 34-year-old is out of a contract at the end of this season and is yet to accept a renewal, leading to the rumours that after 16 seasons with the senior team at Anfield, he might finally walk away from the Merseyside club.
Former England and Liverpool footballer Emile Heskey heads the ball during a training session with kids from PIFA Elite Academy at Sacred Heart School in Santacruz yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
However, his Liverpool teammate for four seasons, Emile Heskey, felt that the England midfielder will stay on at Liverpool.
"For now, Steven Gerrard is Liverpool. If he was going to move from Liverpool, he would have done it a long time ago. It's safe to say that if he had taken that step, he would have won more championships. But he's won what he's won.
He's still a wonderful player and a leader and everyone sees him like that. Maybe he doesn't have the trophy cabinet that he could have, but that doesn't take away from how everyone views him," Heskey told reporters after supervising a training session for kids from the PIFA Elite Academy at Santacruz's Sacred Heart School yesterday.
Heskey also admitted that Gerrard may not be the force he once was, but can still inspire the Kops. "Stevie is not what he used to be. He was a driving force, not only for Liverpool, but also for England. He's not quite that now, but he's got a massive part to play. Stevie's got that ability to pick his teammates up just by being on the field even if he's not playing a brilliant game himself," Heskey added.
Having finished second in the English Premier League (EPL) last season, Liverpool's current campaign is in the doldrums — they are currently ninth, 15 points off league leaders Chelsea in the EPL and were dumped out of the Champions League in the group stages on Tuesday after winning just one of their six league games.
This disappointing run has led to calls for coach Brendan Rodgers to be sacked. However, Heskey said sacking the coach wouldn't solve Liverpool's problems. "The players just need to pick up their performances a bit.
They have a better squad than last season, but not a better team (starting XI). Everyone looks a little bit tired this season. I don't understand how they (Liverpool) can go from last season to this season. It's dramatic. (But) I don't see how getting rid of Rodgers will make any difference. Under him, Liverpool have played attractive football," he said.
Former England striker Emile Heskey revealed that he turned down an offer to play in the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League (ISL).
"I'm 36, I feel I've got a little bit left in me (to play) in the English league. I was approached to come (to the ISL) this summer, (but) I thought it was a little early for me.
I don't see why I can't play in the ISL in the future," said Heskey, who is currently training with Championship side Bolton and hopes to get a contract there.