Former Liverpool legend, Steven Gerard has received the Freedom of the city of Liverpool, an honour he considered a “surprise.”

The former Red and England captain is being honoured for “his contribution to national and international football” and his charity activities in helping disadvantaged children.

Gerard, who first played for Liverpool in 1999, later went on to make more than 500 appearances for the Merseyside club. He lifted the Champions League trophy after the famous Instanbul final in 2005.

Being named the best Liverpool player of the English Premier League era last December his name came out in the nomination list for the Freedom of the city honour by the Mayor of the City.

Reacting to the news of his nomination, Gerard said, “Liverpool is my home city and so to be acknowledged in this way leaves me speechless. To even think about getting such an award makes me feel very humble and of course immensely proud.”

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson said: “The Freedom of Liverpool is a special honour and one which we award only to specially exceptional individuals. Steven has had a fantastic career and is widely regarded as one of the most successful midfielders of his generation. But it is not just his sporting excellence which has made him the icon he is today.”

The Mayor celebrated Gerrard for his kind gesture towards “thousands of young people, particularly the disadvantaged kids in Liverpool.” The award was a commendation for his service the Mayor said and that was why he recommended the player’s name to the council for all the former Three Lions player did for the city. Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard was given then freedom of the borough of Knowsley in 2008.