Gerrard insists he's in LA not for holiday but to win

New Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard controlling the ball during training at StubHub Centre in Carson, California. The 35-year-old former Liverpool captain is scheduled to play his first friendly match against Club America of Mexico on Sa
New Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard controlling the ball during training at StubHub Centre in Carson, California. The 35-year-old former Liverpool captain is scheduled to play his first friendly match against Club America of Mexico on Saturday and make his debut in the MLS the following week.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
 A woman showing her support for the former England captain as he was introduced in front of fans and interviewed during half-time against Toronto last Saturday.
A woman showing her support for the former England captain as he was introduced in front of fans and interviewed during half-time against Toronto last Saturday.

LOS ANGELES • Steven Gerrard vowed to prove critics of his move to the Los Angeles Galaxy wrong as he prepares to make his long-awaited debut for the Major League Soccer (MLS) giants.

The 35-year-old former Liverpool and England captain insisted that he was motivated by the prospect of adding more silverware to his CV at this stage of his career rather than a last bumper pay cheque in the California sunshine.

"It's all about success for me. I've come here to win," Gerrard told a news conference at the Galaxy's StubHub Centre stadium on Tuesday. "If there's anyone out there who thinks I've come here for a holiday or a last pay cheque, they are going to be proved wrong."

The inspirational midfielder decided to follow in the footsteps of former England team-mate David Beckham last November as it became clear he was no longer an automatic first choice at Liverpool.

Advice from the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Galaxy player had also been crucial in helping him make up his mind.

"David's a hero of mine, someone I was lucky enough to play with, a fantastic guy and a wonderful footballer," said Gerrard.

"He's someone I leaned on for advice and I asked him a few questions before I got here."

Gerrard, who shares an agent with Galaxy captain and former Liverpool team-mate Robbie Keane, said he was quickly drawn to the prospect of a Hollywood ending after the club had shown strong interest in signing him.

"What struck me the most was how aggressive they were in trying to get me to come here," he said.

"That made me feel very important and wanted. That's key when you're a footballer."

Gerrard is expected to make his debut for the Galaxy in a friendly match against Club America of Mexico on Saturday. He will make his league debut the following week.

He has already impressed Keane in training since arriving in the United States at the end of last month.

"He's looking sharp," Keane said on Tuesday after a training session.

"He has been off for a few weeks but it doesn't look like that.

"He has already settled in."

Gerrard, who has moved into a US$12 million (S$16.3 million) rented mansion in the ritzy celebrity enclave of Bel Air with his wife and three daughters, said he is looking forward to making a flying start with his new club.

"I think there will be a few minor tweaks and stops and starts.

"The players have got to get used to me, I've got to get used to the way the team plays.

"But I adapt pretty quickly. I've been around the game a long time. I want to get off to a good start.

"I'm not coming here with any excuses that I need months to settle in. I'm looking to fire immediately."

While Gerrard was addressing the media at Los Angeles, his former England midfield partner and Premiership rival, Frank Lampard, was going through a news conference at the same time for his new club New York City.

The pair will meet for the first time in the MLS on Aug 23 when New York visit Galaxy.

"I played against Steven so many times, it's great that he is in MLS," said Lampard, the former Chelsea midfielder who joined Spanish ace David Villa and Italian maestro Andrea Pirlo at New York City.

"After all those times playing for England with him and against him for Chelsea, I never envisaged this would happen.

"But I am pleased it has."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2015, with the headline 'Gerrard insists he's in LA not for holiday but to win'. Print Edition | Subscribe