Steven Gerrard believes LA Galaxy recruit Nigel de Jong will bring out his best during his second season in MLS.
Gerrard, who ended a 25-year association with Liverpool to join the Galaxy last term, showed glimpses of his best but struggled to perform consistently for the five-time MLS Cup champions in 2015.
The 35-year-old former Liverpool captain and England international made 15 appearances in all competitions last season as the Galaxy were eliminated in the knockout round of the MLS Cup.
But with midfield-enforcer De Jong now in the squad, having swapped AC Milan for Los Angeles, Gerrard feels he will now be afforded the opportunity to push higher up the pitch, following Juninho’s move to Tijuana in Mexico.
“Juninho’s a fantastic player, but he’s a playmaker,” Gerrard said. “He liked the ball at his feet, he likes to pass, he’s got good vision. He’s got different strengths to his game than Nigel.
“Nigel’s your typical No, 4/6, where they sit in there, they’re aggressive, they break up their play, and they give it to the players in the team that can do the damage going forward in the final third.
“I’m sure that’s what Bruce [Arena, LA’s head coach] has told Nigel – that’s what Bruce told me he’s told Nigel – and we’re hoping that relationships works with me and Nigel, but we’ll have to wait and see. But he’s a great acquisition for the club. I’ve got full confidence in him.”
The Galaxy kick-off their season against DC United on Sunday.