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Sunday, 9 February, 2003, 05:10 GMT
Gerrard 'received death threats'
Steven Gerrard playing for England
Gerrard is an integral member of the England squad
Steven Gerrard sought police protection after receiving a string of death threats from a gangster over a teenage model, according to a newspaper report.

The Sunday Mirror claimed the Liverpool midfielder was so terrified that he hired round-the-clock minders when the threats began, more than two years ago.

According to the paper, Gerrard had a brick thrown through the window of his 50,000 BMW and on another occasion was chased in his car through his home city of Liverpool.

His security arrangements were reviewed and FA chiefs were reportedly told to step up security while the player was on England duty.

Merseyside Police were so concerned, they even instructed armed response vehicles to patrol outside his Southport home, the paper said.

It also suggested that the threats contributed to the 22-year-old's slump in form which Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier alluded to last November.

Houllier said after Liverpool's exit from the Champions League that he had been "frustrated" with Gerrard's "environment".

Gerrard is serving a three-match suspension from domestic football which makes him ineligible for England's friendly with Australia on Wednesday.

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13 Feb 03 | Liverpool
19 Dec 02 | Football
18 Nov 02 | England
13 Nov 02 | Champions League
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