Premier League - Gerrard: Cole 'as good as Messi'
Eurosport - Tue, 10 Aug 14:01:00 2010
Steven Gerrard has claimed that his new Liverpool team-mate Joe Cole is as good as Barcelona's Lionel Messi - if not better.
"Messi can do some amazing things, but anything he can do Joe can do as well, if not better," the Liverpool captain told Match of the Day magazine.
"He used to shock us in training by doing footy tricks with a golf ball that most players can't even do with a football.
"I really fancy Joe for the (player of the year) award this season."
Liverpool captain Gerrard was reported to be a key figure in persuading Cole to move to Anfield on a free transfer this summer.
The 30-year-old - who captained England at the World Cup in the absence of the injured Rio Ferdinand - added that the arrival of new manager Roy Hodgson helped persuade him stay at the club.
"It's a great club and after speaking with Roy Hodgson I'm really pleased to see his plans for the club," Gerrard added.
"It's a new era now - we must forget about the horror of what happened last season and get this club back to where it belongs, which is the Champions League at the very least."
Gerrard also admitted that he believes he and his England team-mates 'deserve' to be booed by the crowd during Wednesday's friendly against Hungary at Wembley.
"I'm expecting a mixed reaction. I'm sure there'll be boos but we have to take it on the chin. We deserve it, we let them down.
"Hopefully, with time, we can show them we are a good team and that we're desperate to make them happy."
Asked if he would boo the national team, he added: "I probably would.
"For me there are no excuses at all. The simple message is we have to show how sorry we are by our performances on the pitch.
"We have to study where we went wrong on the pitch against Germany and try to put those things right. The mental side of things will only improve by winning games."