As the recriminations over Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool departure continue, the skipper himself is in danger of giving up the moral high ground.
Gerrard’s initial statement, released in conjunction with the club, was a stoic and respectful recognition of the captain’s changing status in his Anfield dotage.
However, since then, despite his assertion that ‘there is no finger-pointing from me towards the manager or anyone else’, the midfielder has chosen to fuel the smoke of acrimony around the situation in conversation with the Liverpool Echo.
In telling the paper “if a contract had been put in front of me in pre-season I would have signed it,” Gerrard is indulging in utterly pointless retrospeculation that only diverts debate away from the future direction of the club.
Meanwhile, his admission that “I’d just retired from England to concentrate all my efforts on Liverpool…I didn’t want my club games to be tailored” only paints him as out of touch with reality.
Even the media’s most ardently pro-‘Stevie G’ pundits have long acknowledged that he would need to be employed more sparingly as his years advanced.
A move into deeper midfield was another admission of his waning physical gifts.
For an example of how an ageing club legend should react when his tenure as an automatic starter is at an end, he need look no further than Chelsea’s all-time top goalscorer Frank Lampard.
Some 14 years a blue, he first began to be used more sparingly in the 2012/13 campaign under Andre Villas-Boas then Rafael Benitez.
Yet he surged back to prominence, making himself undroppable as he edged past Bobby Tambling’s all-time blues mark.
Despite the club letting his contract run down during the following season he kept his counsel over the situation rather than fanning the flames of negative publicity at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea pursued the title.
There have been no bitter-sounding tabloid splashes since his departure either, only proof that he remains a goalscoring midfielder of the highest calibre.