(Reuters) - New Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard says he did not want to play out his days as a “squad” member at Liverpool and had little hesitation signing for the Major League Soccer team.
Gerrard, 35, has joined the Galaxy after spending his entire professional career, 17 seasons, with Liverpool and vowed that he was in Los Angeles for the long haul.
“I had options to stay in the Premier League, options around Europe, but I didn’t want to compete against Liverpool,” Gerrard told a news conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday as he was introduced to the American media.
“I love Liverpool Football Club and I always will do... but I didn’t want to become a squad player or a sub at the club I love.
“If there’s anyone out there that thinks I’m coming here for a holiday and a last pay check, they’ll be proved wrong very soon.
“I’m looking forward to staying here as long as possible. I love Liverpool, the city, and I will miss it at times.
“I’m a Scouser and I’m proud to be a Scouser but I want to give my children a chance to live in a new place.”
Gerrard, who will follow in the footsteps of former England team mate David Beckham at the Galaxy, said he had been courted aggressively by Los Angeles and had sounded out Beckham before signing.
“David is a hero of mine. He’s someone I’ve leaned on and asked for advice before I came here.”
Gerrard has also been welcomed by Galaxy captain Robbie Keane, who has been in fine form recently, scoring a hat-trick last Saturday. The defending MLS Cup champions Galaxy have also been performing strongly, with three wins in their past four matches.
Gerrard said Keane, a former Liverpool team mate, had “lent me some factor-50 (sunscreen) as well so I didn’t burn on day one”.
Gerrard and wife Alex arrived in Los Angeles a week ago, while their three daughters were due to arrive later on Tuesday after staying in England to complete school exams.
“The last seven days has been a bit of a whirlwind,” he said. “I’ve had a bit of jet lag (and we have been) moving into a new house.”
Gerrard will make his MLS debut for the Galaxy against San Jose on July 17.
“The game can’t come quick enough. We’ve got a fantastic team there and if I can add a bit to that I think the future can be very bright.”
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Toby Davis