Robson told Sportsmail that he was keen to bring Gerrard to the Riverside Stadium but was rejected out of hand by the Anfield club.
"I remember we were playing Liverpool and seeing this tall, rangy kid with a shaved head smashing into tackles against more experienced players and buzzing all over the pitch," said Robson.
"He had no qualms about reputations. I turned to our bench and said 'who is this kid?' Afterwards I spoke to Liverpool and said I wanted to buy him but they just said 'no chance, he's one for the future'.
"I knew then though that he would be a great player. I loved his characteristics. He was a bit raw but you could see the determination to succeed written all over his face and his body language. He was a winner."