Steven Gerrard: Liverpool captaincy means you need to have a thick skin

Steven Gerrard has revealed the emotional toll it took on him to be Liverpool captain for 12 years.

Gerrard is the longest-serving captain in the club's history, taking on the armband in October 2003 before departing for LA Galaxy last summer.

And the 36-year-old, writing in the newly-published book "Liverpool Captains" said he always embraced the role despite the intense scrutiny and punishing blows it brought.

"You need to be thick-skinned to be captain," Gerrard said. "Before you accept the responsibility of being captain for Liverpool Football Club you've got to tell yourself that there will be good days and bad days.

"On good days, you'll feel on top of the world. On bad days you'll feel sad and lonely. If you can't handle the low days, when the s--- hits the fan and everyone's out to get you, don't take the job.

"Every single day, even when I wasn't playing badly, I felt that pressure. But I loved it, even on bad days. When we'd had a bad game or if I'd played badly, I used to tell myself: 'I'm the captain. I need to put this right, and I'll have another chance to do that in three or four days.'"

Gerrard said he had dreamed of wearing the armband from the age of 10 and added: "When I got it I wanted to enjoy it, even on bad days."

The midfielder, born in Huyton, Liverpool, said he had looked up to former club captain Jamie Redknapp and Robbie Fowler.

"Redknapp was my hero," he said. "I love him as a guy and I loved him as a player. He went out of his way to help me.

"Every day he'd call me over and check on me to see if I was all right, if I had the football boots and the equipment that I needed. And he'd tell me where he was off to after training and ask me to join him. He didn't have to do that.

"When someone behaves like that to you at 16, it does something important to you. So when I was 26 and I was captain, I'd treat younger players the way Jamie had."

He said he felt Fowler had been "made captain because of who he was: an icon in the dressing room, and possibly the best striker in England at that time."

"We had a natural respect for Robbie," he added. "He was a bubbly character in the dressing room, very easy to like, and he got along well with every single player."