London: Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has said that the main reason for him to choose to quit his boyhood club at the end of the current season was the fear of becoming a bit-part player.
Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard. Pic/Getty Images
In a conversation with manager Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool midfielder was informed that he would not start every game. After 17 years of playing for the senior team, Gerrard announced on Friday that he will join a Major League Soccer (MLS) club at the end of the season.
"The key conversation was when the manager sat me down and said it was time to manage my games. It was a very difficult conversation to have. I'm bright enough to realise it is the right thing. I accept it... but that was the key conversation that swung me to deciding to come away for a short while," the 34-year-old was quoted as saying in Liverpool's official website.
But the former England skipper had to deny rumours of a conflict with Rodgers after not featuring in the team that beat Stoke City in November — on the 16th anniversary of his debut for the club. "When you've been a starter and a mainstay in the team for such a long time... I had an idea the conversation was going to come at some time, but it was a painful one," Gerrard said.
Gerrard said he had been flattered by the reaction to the news that he is quitting Liverpool. "I can't read much of the reaction at the moment. I keep switching the TV off. I didn't realise it would be as big as this. It's very flattering and I'm humbled by it."