Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Steven Gerrard shares special moment with pupils at his former school On the eve of his 100th cap,

EXCLUSIVE: On the eve of his 100th cap, Steven Gerrard shares special moment with pupils at his former school — emulating the famous picture of England's iconic captain Bobby Moore

By Dominic King

Steven Gerrard was standing in the middle of a tiny school hall when the magnitude of what he was about to achieve struck home.
As he looked around, the memories came flooding back. Gerrard is on the verge of winning his 100th England cap but the morning he spent at Huyton-with-Roby Church of England Primary School put the journey to the top of his profession firmly into context.
This was where it had all began. There could have been no more fitting place, then, for him to mark the achievement of becoming  England's sixth footballing centurion than by returning to his first school and recreating the iconic image of Bobby Moore in 1973, surrounded by 99 children, each wearing one of his international caps.
Stevie's a class act: Gerrard poses for this exclusive photograph for the Daily Mail with 99 children from his former school
Stevie's a class act: Gerrard poses for this exclusive photograph for the Daily Mail with children from his former school on the eve of his 100th England cap
Gerrard looked overwhelmed as the photoshoot began, even if the youngest members of the assembled children were blissfully unaware of who he was.
Others were so excited they chirruped the song the Liverpool supporters sing to him, minus the colourful language, of course.
'It was brilliant to go back,' said the England current skipper. 'When I was walking around and getting ready for the picture, it put my whole career into perspective.
If the caps fit: Bobby Moore poses in his England kit with 99 boys from the school opposite West Ham's Upton Park ground on the eve of his 100th game for his country in 1973
If the caps fit: Moore poses in his England kit with 99 boys from the school opposite West Ham's Upton Park ground on the eve of his 100th game for his country in 1973
'I went there when I was only four years of age and I couldn't help but think where I was then and where I have got to now, on the verge of 100 caps.
'It put everything into perspective. I couldn't help thinking how well things have gone and how lucky I have been. I had so many happy memories of being in school and it was just nice to go back and see what it was like again. It was really poignant.
Enlarge   Hats off: The England and Liverpool captain poses a number of exclusive snaps taken by Daily Mail Chief Sports Photographer Andy Hooper
Hats off: The England and Liverpool captain poses for a number of exclusive snaps taken by Daily Mail Chief Sports Photographer Andy Hooper

'I haven't been back for about seven or eight years, so part of the reason for wanting to have the picture taken there was to share it with the teachers and the children.
'That was the first place where I kicked a ball. None of my family would have thought then that I'd go on to play for England.'
Huyton-with-Roby was known as St Michael's Church of England Primary School when Gerrard attended. It has changed since he left in 1991, but Gerrard's impact since has been profound and in one hall there is 'an aspiration corner', where one of Gerrard's Liverpool shirts hangs.
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Its aim is to inspire future generations and, judging by the reception he received, his inspirational qualities are not in question. The 30 minutes the 99 children spent with Gerrard, as the cameras clicked to get the perfect image before the heavens opened, will not be forgotten either - by him or the staff of his old school.
'I'm not keen on having my picture taken, but this was special,' said Gerrard. 'I had memories of being on the playground, playing football in the little halls or being stood outside the headmaster's office if I'd been naughty.
Back where it all began: Former England boss presents Gerrard with his first cap in 2000
Back where it all began: Former England manager Kevin Keegan presents Gerrard with his first cap in 2000
'I remember making the walk to school from the Bluebell Estate where I grew up and it would be nice to think that maybe some of the kids who do the same walk now could achieve something themselves in the future.
'If you believe in yourself, you can do it. 'I had not seen the original  picture of Bobby Moore until I was asked to do this. I went online and as soon as I saw it, I was both flattered and delighted to have the opportunity. Bobby Moore is an England legend and an iconic figure, so to be asked to emulate that was overwhelming.
'As I said, I'm not the biggest fan of having my picture taken, but this was different. In years to come, it will be fantastic to look back on with my own family and children.'

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