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Liverpool hero Kuyt: Why Gerrard the best I played with

Former Liverpool player Dirk Kuyt says Steven Gerrard was the best footballer he'd played with.

Now a youth coach at Feyenoord, Kuyt will be reunited with Rangers boss Gerrard when the two sides face in the Europa League at Ibrox on Thursday.

Speaking in a column on Voetbalnieuws, the Dutchman said: "He was the first player I met at the club and was the first to put me at ease."Not a man of many words but he shook my hand and said, 'I hope I will win a lot of prizes with you here'.

"In the period that followed, I saw how he took the lead as a leader and what it meant to be a real professional.

"So he gave everything that day, not just on Saturday afternoons or Champions League evenings, but from Monday to Friday he led the fight."

And Kuyt added that Gerrard was an "abnormal" talent.

"I have been able to play with many big players at Liverpool, with Torres, Suarez, Alonso and Mascherano. In the Dutch national team with Van Persie, Robben and Sneijder.

"But in many ways, Gerrard has remained the most special player for me.

"He had everything. He could pass over 40 metres, tackle, score, 50 metres back, it was sometimes not normal."

Kuyt also spoke of a story about Gerrard that every young footballer should know.

"Every player at our club should look at his winning mentality," he added.

"I remember when I was at Liverpool, towards the end Steven's career, there was a match when he didn't even make the 16-man squad.

"In the Netherlands, when that happens, it's always someone else's fault. Their first reaction is to blame someone.

"Do you know what Steven did? He said nothing, he went home and trained harder than I've ever seen someone train the next day. That's what he is all about."

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Paul Vegas

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