Steven Gerrard downplays Beckham comparisons ahead of LA Galaxy debut

Steven Gerrard admits he's no David Beckham but still believes he has plenty to offer the league and his new LA Galaxy teammates on the pitch ahead of his first match in Major League Soccer.

The former Liverpool captain, speaking exclusively to ESPN FC's Taylor Twellman, cautioned against comparisons with ex-England teammate Beckham, who made a significant impact on MLS when he left Real Madrid for Los Angeles in 2007.

Gerrard, who led Liverpool to their fifth European Cup triumph when he lifted the Champions League trophy in 2005, is expected to make his debut this Saturday in the Galaxy's International Champions Cup match against Liga MX club America.

"I think the important thing for me and for people to understand is that I'm not David Beckham," Gerrard said. "I'm not as good looking as him and I don't have the influence that maybe David has, but I'd like to think I'm on the same level when it comes down to performing on the football pitch."

Now 35 years old, Gerrard says adapting to his new club has been "a bit like going into a new school" but he did his homework ahead of the switch.

"I've been studying [MLS] really strongly since I had the idea I was going to come here," he said. "I watched the Galaxy's games, I've recorded them and watched them the next morning, and I've been following stuff on YouTube, the individual players, see their movements."

On his departure from Liverpool, Gerrard said he considered the option to sign a one-year extension or even retiring from playing altogether after a disappointing final season at Anfield, but he wanted to keep playing a key role for a team in search of a trophy.

"The easy thing for me would have been to sign a year extension and stay in my comfort zone at Liverpool and become a squad player and use my name to just filter into the background, or retire and call it a day," he said.

"But I like to challenge myself, and I think this is a fantastic opportunity and a big challenge for me at this age, and I can't wait to get stuck in."

He added: "Without being big-headed, I feel I can contribute in many areas. I like to be an all-around midfielder, I like to help the team defensively and I also like to help the team going forward.

"I think you'll see I've still got some energy left, irrespective of what some people have said back in the UK.

"So you'll see over the coming weeks and months that I'll work as hard as I can, I'll fight for the team, with and without the ball and I'm looking to contribute in the final third.

"I'm coming into the champions, I'm coming into a fantastic team who are ready to win and if I can just add a little bit to that I'm sure the future can be successful."

Gerrard will earn a salary far in excess of the majority of his teammates, but he said: "I'm very humble. I treat all my teammates exactly the same.

"I'm not just here for myself. I'm here to try to demand and push these guys to improve and try to help them as much as I can, and they'll realise in a short space of time that I'm here for every single one of them to bounce things off me. If they need me for anything both on or off the pitch, I'm willing to help.

"I don't treat people in life on what they earn, or how much they're worth. I treat them as human beings, and everyone's been fantastic with me from day one."

He stressed that money had not been the motivating factor in his decision to head to MLS.

"I can't control people's opinions or what they think," he said. "The only thing I can do is go out the pitch and walk the walk and prove to them in my performances that I'm not done, that I'm not retired.

"Money's never been a motivation for me. I respect money. I'm secure, I've been secure for a very long time. I could have retired last year and sat on the beach for the rest of my life. That's not me. I'm a footballer, I'm a winner, and I want to win for as long as I can."

Watch more of Steven Gerrard's interview on ESPN FC TV (Friday, 6 p.m. ET: ESPNews)