Departing Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admits the “buzz” of playing changed when he learned he was to have a restricted role and that was when he decided to sever ties with his boyhood club.
The midfielder, who turns 35 later this month, retired from England duty last July in order to extend his lifespan at club level but early in the season he discovered he would no longer be a regular starter under manager Brendan Rodgers.
That proved to be a major factor in him not signing a contract extension and opting to move to California for a new challenge with the Los Angeles Galaxy at the end of the campaign.
“I think the signs this year were that I’m going to become a squad player, play less,” said Gerrard, speaking at the 5Times Liverpool Former Player Association Gala Dinner. “I’m going to come on as a sub and the buzz changes.
“For me, I go to work on a Monday morning and I look forward to Saturday, to prepare to go to battle with some wonderful people – with good mates – and that’s my buzz.
“When a manager gets you into the office and says that’s going to change and it’s going to become more limited – that’s when you make your decision.
“It’s not a selfish thing; coming on as a sub’s just not the same buzz so things have changed this year.”
Gerrard, who has carried the burden of leading Liverpool over the last decade, recently spoke of how he is looking forward to not having as much pressure on his shoulders in Major League Soccer.
Despite his vast achievements for the club he has been associated with since joining their academy at the age of nine he will find a life of relative anonymity on the west coast of the United States.
“It lets you give a little back to your family,” he added. “You step out of the city, you breathe for a bit, you enjoy your kids and you go to a place where you are going to enjoy it.
“I think the league’s going to be good, I can still start games and I can still enjoy it.”
Gerrard will be honoured in his final match at Anfield against Crystal Palace on Saturday.