Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has revealed that it took him just five minutes to realise how good Xabi Alonso was.
Alonso joined Liverpool in the summer of 2004 when Rafael Benitez started his Spanish revolution at the club, and the central midfield spent five years at Anfield before returning home.
He left the Reds for £30 million in 2009 as Real Madrid signed the exceptionally-talented midfielder, leading to Liverpool struggling in his absence.
Gerrard’s relationship with Alonso on the pitch was superb and the ex-captain has revealed that it only took him five minutes in training to realise how good his new teammate was.
“Usually the best players are the ones who are good on a daily basis in training, the ones who are consistent,” Gerrard said to the Liverpool Echo.
“Xabi Alonso was one such player, I knew after five minutes of his first training session that he was some player, just from his passing technique. You can tell after a few days’ training who is going to make it.”
He played with some fantastic talents during his 17 seasons with Liverpool, and Gerrard has revealed the two big players that shocked him with how much talent they had.
“In terms of who shocked me about how good they were, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez would be my two favourites,” Gerrard said. “They would often have moments where you’d think ‘wow, has he really just done that?’.”
Gerrard also played behind two other big-name strikers at Liverpool before both Suarez and Torres were ever linked to Anfield.
“I used to love playing with Michael Owen because of his movement and, speaking as a midfielder, whenever he was playing in front of me then I knew I had a chance of an assist,” he added.
“I was a massive fan of Robbie Fowler and he was my hero when I was trying to get into the team. I played with him more towards the end of his career – his best days were before I became a regular – but it was still an honour. As a midfielder, I do love a good striker.”