Monday 15 July 2013
Steven Gerrard's love affair with Liverpool is to continue after he signed a new contract with the club on Monday morning.
The 33-year-old has enjoyed a glittering career at Liverpool since making his debut as a substitute in the Barclays Premier League match against Blackburn Rovers in November 1998.
Since then the England international has become an Anfield legend, making 441 League appearances, scoring 98 goals, as well as winning the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Cup, two FA Cups and two League Cups.
"I've been here that long and so to extend, it's a big day for me and I'm really happy for myself and my family," Gerrard told the club's website. "It's great news.
"We're pleased today to add an extension to his existing agreement and that keeps him here until the end of his career"
"It lets me know the club thinks an awful lot of me and want me here. I'm glad it's all done and it's happened at the right time before the season, so I can just focus on playing as well as I can."
Gerrard has become an integral part of the Liverpool set up and has made under 30 League appearances in only five of his 15 campaigns with the club. Last season, he started all but two matches.
In last year's Premier League 20 Seasons Awards, Gerrard was voted in the public's Fantasy Team of the last two decades.
"It's fantastic for everyone – the club, Steven and the fans," said Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre.
"He is – and always has been – such a big part of Liverpool Football Club. Particularly in this day and age, it's rather unique to find a local player who has given his whole career to his club.
"We're pleased today to add an extension to his existing agreement and that keeps him here until the end of his career.
"We've said what we'll do in two years' time is review it again and see how happy Steven is. We seem to always be happy with him, so hopefully we'll just continue in that vein."
Aston Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood has signed a new four-year contract with the club that will keep him at Villa Park until 2017.
The 23-year-old joined Villa from Crewe Alexandra last summer and soon became an important member of Paul Lambert's first team. He made 30 Barclays Premier League appearances, starting 28 of them, and was one of Villa's stand-out players in the 2012/13 campaign.
"I love being here and I'm delighted to be part of a great football club," Westwood told the club's website. "You look at the players the manager has brought to the club and they're all young and hungry. I just want to be part of that and hopefully we're building something special here.
"He never seems to give the ball away. He's been exceptional"
Paul Lambert on Ashley Westwood
"The fans stood with us last season, Villa Park was rocking and over the second half of the season we were able to make it into something of a fortress. The Sunderland game at Villa Park topped it off, an unbelievable night and we'll look to recreate some of that hopefully again this coming season.
"For any young English player to play in the Premier League is what you want to do. To be a part of it with Villa is something special. From day one, everyone at the club from the kit man to the fans and players have helped me settle in and made me feel at home straight away."
Lambert, who has also had Brad Guzan, Andreas Weimann and Nathan Baker signing new deals so far this summer, says he has been impressed with how quickly Westwood has coped with life in the top flight.
"I think a lot gets overlooked with Ashley but he has just come in here and has taken to it no problem whatsoever," said Lambert. "He was captain at Crewe and played a lot of games in men's football before he came here so he knew what it was about.
"If you look at the stats regarding his passing, they are terrific; something like a 91% success rate. He never seems to give the ball away. He's been exceptional."