Alex Song is set to make his first start for West Ham United this evening, and in doing so will come up against Steven Gerrard, the man he admits is one of his football idols, reports the Daily Mirror.
The former Arsenal midfielder – younger cousin of former Reds defender Rigobert Song – reveals he made a trip to Anfield at the age of 12, and managed to get hold of Gerrard’s shirt – an item he has treasured ever since.
“I went to watch my first game in England there and I will never forget it – the fans were unbelievable,” said the 27-year-old.
“It was crazy because I took some pictures with the players – I still have the picture I took with Robbie Fowler.
“Then Rigo gave me Gerrard’s shirt from that day and I have kept it. I used to train in it every single day. I have still got the shirt.
“When you are young and someone gives you a shirt, you have to keep it. My son (Nolan) has it. I got three shirts that day – Fowler and Michael Owen too – but I was lucky to have Gerrard’s shirt.”
Song admits that he has studied Gerrard ever since, and has been looking to emulate the Liverpool skipper over the course of his career.
“I like Stevie’s style and the way he plays,” he said. “I always try to watch the best players in my position and try to learn. Gerrard is one of the players I was watching when I was young.
“I think Gerrard is the best player I’ve ever seen in a Liverpool shirt for me. He is more important to Liverpool than Suarez.
“It is very important to have those kind of loyal players who play for Liverpool for a long time. It is a very different team when Gerrard is not in it.”