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Shelvey's best contribution in a Liverpool shirt?
"He [Gerrard] has become the most influential player in England, bar none," said Ferguson in 2004, as per this article by Dominic King in The Daily Mail, who exposes Ferguson's claim for what it is—wrong.
More than anything, Ferguson's claim is exceptionally hypocritical, something Roy Keane rightly pointed out and has been a trend of Ferguson's for many years, as expertly highlighted in this piece by B/R's Jamie Ward back in 2009.
Jeremy Wilson, in The Telegraph, explains that Ferguson attempted to sign Gerrard in the summer of 2005.
If Gerrard isn't a "top, top player," then just why was the Man United manager trying to sign him?
Gerrard himself explained in an interview with The Daily Mail recently, "I have had some unbelievable praise from him and he tried to buy me, certainly on one occasion. Maybe even two."
"Could you imagine me going to bed at night having taken Gerrard off Liverpool?" wrote Ferguson in his book.
"Gerrard won a Champions League final almost single-handedly in 2005. I didn’t see anyone do that for Ferguson on the two occasions Manchester United won it, 1999 and 2008," Jamie Carragher rightly pointed out in his Daily Mail column.
Zinedine Zidane, arguably the greatest player of his generation, was similarly bemused by the claim, as quoted by The Mirror:
Alex Ferguson is obviously one of the most successful coaches the game has ever had. But I did find his comments about Steven Gerrard very strange. To say he is not a top player is wrong.
For two or three years, Steven Gerrard was the best midfield player in the world. Even now he is playing at a high level for Liverpool and England.
Selective memory and hypocrisy from Ferguson, then.