Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists captain Steven Gerrard forms an integral part of his plans for the next few years.
Gerrard, 33, has spent the last weeks recovering from a shoulder operation that ended his 2012/13 campaign prematurely, and just recently revealed he expects to be back for pre-season training.
Gerrard’s fitness update is a good news for Rodgers who has praised the Kops’ ‘Captain Fantastic’ for his work rate that has seen him overcome the muscle injuries that have blighted him in recent years.
“He’s 33 now but Stevens is still an integral part of what I’m trying to do here and will be for the next few years,” Rodgers said.
“He had his operation towards the end of the season and the plan was for him to continue his rehab over the off-season.
“It’s a big credit to him- he’s worked tirelessly over the summer,” he added. “He won’t be too far away. He looks great and is in great condition.”
Gerrard will build up his fitness on Liverpool’s pre-season tour of Australia, Indonesia and Thailand next month and will be hoping to take part in the game against Melbourne Victory on July 24 and Thailand four days later.
He will want to get some under his belt before his testimonial, at Anfield against Olympiacos, on August 3 and should be in peak condition when Liverpool kick-off their Premier League campaign at home to Stoke on August 17.