Matteo was a couple of years ahead of Gerrard when the pair were together at Liverpool and the centre-half told The Sentinel: “I remember the first time I really saw him. A few of us not involved in the first team were training on a Saturday morning and he came along to join us. We were all thinking wow, this kid has something.
“From a young age he could play absolutely anywhere – I’ve seen him play right-back for the first team early in his career.
“He’s a good athlete and has got such a great brain, but he also works hard at improving his game all of the time.
“Off the field, Stevie is a very humble guy, considering what he has achieved. He doesn’t take anything for granted.
“He takes every game the same and that is a tribute to his great professionalism.
“He will be wanting to get that 100th goal sorted and out of the way. He scores all different types of goals and you just can’t give him space anywhere on the field because of the way he shoots.”
Matteo also has a soft spot for Jamie Carragher after spending even more time with the former England defender during their rise towards first-team football at Anfield.
“It’s easy for people on the outside to overlook his contribution, particularly with Stevie around, but I don’t think he gets overlooked in Liverpool.
“They know what he’s done for the club, and that is done brilliantly. He’s a great pro, a great player and a really nice guy with it.”