‘I quit Chelsea’s loan army – my goal now is emulate Steven Gerrard’s success’

You'd have thought it'd be tough being a Steven Gerrard fan in Chelsea's academy, what with the incessant comparisons between him and Blues legend Frank Lampard – but according to Xavier Simons it was anything but.

The 20-year-old, who recently made his loan move from Stamford Bridge to Hull City permanent, counts the Liverpool icon as his hero, not because he's a Reds fan, but because he's always had an air of Gerrard about him after stepping across that white line – something few who have watched him play would deny.

"I love Gerrard as a player and I base by whole game around him," Simons said speaking exclusively to Daily Star Sport, "He's someone that I want to play like and want to be compared to."

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When asked if he had to keep his fondness for Gerrard a secret within the walls of Chelsea's Cobham training ground, he said: "Nah, everyone can understand that Gerrard was a world class player.

"Lampard's there as well, but I base my game more around Gerrard."

Simons spent seven years at Chelsea, having signed from Brentford as a 13-year-old in 2016. He spent six of those seven years honing his craft in the academy, but in September last year he was recruited to the club's notoriously-massive loan army.

Whose playing career do you think young footballers would rather emulate, Gerrard's or Lampard's? Let us know in the comments section below.

The Blues have a long-standing reputation for taking advantage of the loan system to generate revenue streams by farming players out to increase their market value before selling them on for profit. As such, the life of a Chelsea loanee sounds like a potentially disheartening and impersonal existence, but according to Simons, that's not the case at all.

"I feel it's a great system, for young players to get experience. Chelsea are one of the best at it," he told us.

"The coaches are always in contact and coming to games and analysing areas of your game that you need to improve while you're away. They also work closely with the club you're at so you can improve that way."

Simons' attention has now turned to Hull and helping the club get back to the promised land of the Premier League for the first time since they were relegated in 2017.

"I've bought into the long-term plan and that's what I want to help the team to get to. The day I came in I loved the place. I loved the players and I can see where we're heading as a club.

"The gaffer [Liam Rosenior] has put trust in me and I've put trust into him and the coaching staff, and the players too."


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