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Would Steven Gerrard Be a Good Addition for NYCFC?

michaelschwartz
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With January approaching, New York City FC continues to be linked with international superstars such as Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard. According to Koptalk, NYCFC has shown interest in bringing Gerrard to the Big Apple.

NYCFC would complete the hat-trick of New York clubs that have been reportedly interested in Gerrard after he was already linked with the Red Bulls and the Cosmos. As soccer continues to grow in New York, Gerrard would be a high-profile addition for any American club.

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Whether Gerrard is actually a good move for New York City is debatable. While the Red Bulls could use a well-known superstar to replace Thierry Henry as the face of the club, New York City already has two talismanic figures in David Villa and Frank Lampard.

While acquiring Gerrard would generate massive publicity, NYCFC would not be addressing any serious needs with the midfielder. Furthermore, it’s fair to say that Lampard and Gerrard were never exactly a dynamic duo for England. All you need to know about their partnership is that when one types the midfielders’ last names on Google, the first suggested search option is “lampard gerrard problem.”

Why Gerrard and Lampard, two of the finest midfielders in the world, could never play well with each other was the conundrum that baffled a nation for years. Great minds like Sven Goran Eriksson, Fabio Capello, and Steve McClaren simply never figured out how to get the best out of them as England’s much hyped “Golden Generation” faded away in crushing disappointment.

Gerrard and Lampard hardly ever played well for England because they were both attacking midfielders with similar instincts. A mirror image of each other, the two Englishmen were the faces of their respective clubs for being attackers that had keen awareness for being in the right positions to finish chances. Yet, when stuck together for England, they both played similarly which left the team with hardly anyone to orchestrate goal-scoring opportunities and crucially susceptible to counter attacks.

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In later years, Gerrard has developed into more of a holding midfielder while Lampard still operates as an attacker who knows where to be behind defenses to finish chances. In theory (a dangerous phrase), New York City FC could utilize Gerrard as a box-to-box midfielder while Lampard operates further forward. It would at least save New Yorkers the agony England fans suffered through from having to watch the two play together in the center of the pitch.

However, Gerrard has not been very impressive as of late as a defensive midfielder. He lacks pace, doesn’t provide adept defensive cover for a backline and gets caught ball-watching far too often. In Jason Kreis’ midfield diamond, the 34-year old would shoulder numerous responsibilities in terms of operating on both ends of the pitch. He’s not getting any younger and perhaps it would be too much for him to handle physically as he gets older.

That being said, Gerrard is an accomplished midfielder that proved under Brendan Rogers last season that he can succeed as a holding midfielder in a possession-oriented system. Long known for the Hollywood long pass, Gerrard proved that he could excel as a deep-lying midfielder capable of breaking down opponents with quick passing and ball retention. While he has struggled to replicate his form this season, he would thrive against MLS opposition.

At the same time, it feels wrong to leave Gerrard further back considering his prowess as an attacking midfielder. Gerrard would have the greatest impact with New York City further up the pitch where his vision and shooting skills would make him a nightmare to defend.

Therefore, I feel New York City would only get the most out of Gerrard roaming forward with Villa and the other attackers. Of course, that’s where Lampard is which highlights the familiar dilemma of having them link up together.

Signing Steven Gerrard would highlight the club’s ambition for marketable superstars that appeal to New York soccer fans. Unfortunately, Gerrard would be no more than a luxury signing for New York City FC that would complicate matters.

If Lampard were to stay in Manchester permanently, than Gerrard would be a fine replacement. Yet, that isn’t likely going to happen which makes this potential move ill-advised.

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