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PFA Merit Award 2015 Winners

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Honouring their services to football, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have been awarded the PFA Merit Award at the 2015 PFA Awards in London.

Think of some of the most influential and inspirational English footballers of this century – of all time, in fact and the names of Steven Gerrard MBE and Frank Lampard will not be far from your thoughts.

The words consistency and class are appropriate enough, but do not do full justice when it comes to assessing the immense contributions of two of the most iconic figures of the modern era.

Like Billy Wright; like Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton – all fellow members of the elite 100-cap club – Gerrard and Lampard have performed with distinction and style... for club and country; on and off the field.

This summer will see the Liverpool and Chelsea legends take their talents and expertise to the United States, and it is only fitting that we should mark their departures with a glowing tribute.

The word ‘legend’ is perhaps somewhat overused, and on occasions slightly inappropriate, but in the case of ‘Stevie G’ and ‘Lamps’ no word could be more fitting.

With regards to former PFA Players’ Player of the Year Gerrard, the tweeted words of one particular Liverpool fan are both eloquent and tremendously poignant.

Dil Singh wrote: “When young kids ask what made Stevie G a special player there are many superlatives; for to define him is to define greatness. He carried the team to the summit many times.

“He never stopped believing when all the odds were stacked against us, like on the 25th of May 2005 when he summed up what it meant to never walk alone. He has been the heart beat of the club for so long .Thanks for the memories Stevie G - pure class.”

Powerful and emotive words which put into context perfectly the impact Steven has made to a club he joined at the age of eight and served with such desire and dedication; man and boy.

There was a time, not so long back, when Liverpool fans feared he would be wearing the blue of Frank’s former club Chelsea but the red of Liverpool - and the white of his country, of course - were the only ones for him.

Playing against his beloved Liverpool, for Chelsea or any other Premier League rival, was never really an option. Hence his decision to extend his incredible career across the pond with LA Galaxy.

The indelible mark he will leave on the English game, and on Liverpool FC in particular, will be exactly that and we wish him well as he prepares to embark on is next great adventure.

The end of a 25-year association with the Reds – all those trophies; all those memories; that famous night in Istanbul – will see another outpouring of emotion from the man himself and his admirers.

Many of whom have already been fighting for a place in the queue to pay tribute to a player who has made well over 700 appearances for his one and only club to date, scoring almost 200 goals in the process.

A former England captain with 114 caps to his name, Steven has the distinction – amongst many others – of being the only player to have scored in a League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Cup and Champions League final.

Gary Lineker describes Gerrard as ‘one of the finest players to have graced the Premier League’ whilst former Liverpool and England teammate Peter Crouch commented recently: “I’ve been fortunate to have played with some top players in my time but Stevie G is easily the best I have played with.”

All fitting tributes echoed by one and all, including former colleague Luis Suarez who adds: “With you I have lived one of the best moments of my career in a stadium. I am proud to say I played with a legend like you.

“I admire everything you have done during the years in Liverpool MY FRIEND. I wish you the best of the best.”

Steven’s career goalscoring ratio Is not far short of one every three games – a pretty impressive record for a midfielder; stats bettered only by a certain Frank Lampard.

Over 250 goals in just under 800 appearances is simply phenomenal for another of the game’s great ambassadors, who also has more than 100 England caps to his name (29 goals).

Fourth In the list of the Barclays Premier League all-time top scorers – only behind Wayne Rooney, Andy Cole and Alan Shearer – Frank has been a goalscoring phenomenon.

For West Ham, Chelsea and currently Manchester City, the former England international will join Gerrard Stateside this summer as he resumes life with New York City FC… with many glorious tributes ringing in his ears.

Who better to lead those tributes than his former Chelsea teammate and best friend John Terry, and Blues boss José Mourinho.

JT says of his pal: “Lamps is a proper Chelsea LEGEND. He won everything with us and in my opinion is the best and most consistent player ever.”

The last word, perhaps as always, goes to the effervescent Mourinho who says he would welcome Lampard back to the Bridge in a heartbeat when he finally calls time on his amazing playing career.

In his own inimitable and unmistakeable style, José says: “You go to this man, the number of matches he played, the number of goals that he scored, the number of assists, the number of ball recovering, the areas on the pitch where he was playing – for me he was the best,  for ten years. I don’t see another one.”

Just about says it all. Good luck on the ‘Great American Adventure’ lad.

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