Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Charged Gerrard offered support

Steven Gerrard
The footballer was driven home after spending 21 hours in police custody

England and Liverpool footballer Steven Gerrard has been charged with assault and affray following a disturbance at a Merseyside nightclub.

Liverpool Football Club has issued a statement saying it would offer Gerrard "all the support he needs".

The 28-year-old was arrested along with five other men near the Lounge Inn in Southport in the early hours of Monday.

A 34-year-old man was taken to hospital with facial injuries after the alleged incident.

'Watching brief'

The football club said: "Steven has been an outstanding servant to Liverpool for the last 10 years and the club will give him all the support he needs at this time."

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) has offered its help to the midfielder.

Steven Gerrard's car outside the Lounge Inn
The footballer was arrested with five other men near the Lounge Inn
Chief executive Gordon Taylor said: "We have a watching brief on this and have offered any help we can.

"I was concerned when I heard about the case as I have known Steven Gerrard a long time. I don't know the full details but as the players' union we would want to be supportive of him."

The Football Assocation added that players would continue to be considered for England while police investigations were on-going, with their situation looked at on a case-by-case basis were they to be convicted of a serious criminal offence.

John Doran, 29, and Ian Smith, 19, both from Huyton, Liverpool, have also been charged and bailed over the incident.

All three will appear at North Sefton Magistrates' Court on 23 January, accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray.

Honorary fellowship

Three other men have been released on police bail pending further inquiries.

In a statement, a Merseyside Police spokesman said: "Merseyside Police has charged Steven Gerrard, 28 years, of Formby, Sefton, John Doran, 29, and Ian Smith, 19 years, both from Huyton, Liverpool, with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray following an incident at Bold Street in Southport in the early hours of Monday, December 29."

After the game on Sunday the Liverpool FC captain, who scored twice, hailed his side as the best he has played in.

Gerrard has been capped by England 70 times and has captained his country four times.

He was made an MBE last year and received an honorary fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University. He was also honoured with the freedom of his home borough, Knowlsey, in November.

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