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Chris Birchall with the LA Galaxy
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PORT Vale midfielder Chris Birchall says he didn’t expect Steven Gerrard to join any other MLS club than LA Galaxy.

Birchall’s former club Galaxy announced the deal yesterday that will see the Liverpool midfielder move to Los Angeles in July.

PORT Vale midfielder Chris Birchall says he didn’t expect Steven Gerrard to join any other MLS club than LA Galaxy.

Birchall’s former club Galaxy announced the deal yesterday that will see the Liverpool midfielder move to Los Angeles in July.

“Once I heard the rumours that he was going to join the MLS, with (Frank) Lampard already at New York City and (David) Beckham and (Landon) Donovan having left LA in the last couple of years I couldn’t see anywhere else that he would go,” the 30-year-old said.

“It’s a nice place to live, he will be thinking about his family and with Galaxy wanting a DP (designated player) I’m not surprised.

“They had Beckham and last year they had three with Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez so they like to have as many as they can within the rules and with Landon having left I thought it was always going to be Galaxy.”

Birchall – who also spent time with American side Columbus Crew – believes more and more players are likely to head to the US to finish their careers, following in the footsteps of David Beckham, Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe and Frank Lampard who have all made the switch in recent years.

The Trinidad international explained: “The Premier League has so many games and it’s always life or death and that can really take it out of you so it will be a bit of an escape for players.

“Teams like New York and LA pay similar money to what they are earning in the Premier League so they can go out there, have the different lifestyle with their family and still pick up the same kind of money.

“He will get a great reception, he will bring in the crowds, but he is a bit different to Beckham because he was more of a global brand and it was more than football with him so people would go and watch for the Beckham brand.

“Gerrard will notice a difference out there because Basketball, American Football and Baseball will be headline news so he will have to get used to football being down the order a bit.”

The former England skipper will be 35 when he heads for the MLS in the summer and will pass 700 appearances for his boyhood club.

But what differences can Gerrard expect from life in the MLS?

“It will just be a complete relaxed atmosphere,” Birchall added.

“After he’s finished training the weather will always be sunny, it’s hot, near to the beach and his family will enjoy it.

“When he’s finished training he won’t be recognised as much so that will be different.

“I think most of the Galaxy fans will become Liverpool fans now and watching him hoping that he won’t get injured.

“It’s one of those things that he’s decided early doors so that takes the pressure off everyone but I’m sure he’ll give everything before he leaves in May.”

Birchall had just finished five months with Brighton & Hove Albion in the summer of 2009 when he learned of the interest from Galaxy.

Their head coach Bruce Arena had just taken over after a spell in charge of the US national team where he had spotted Birchall playing for Trinidad.

He added: “I was quite lucky because I was at Brighton and my contract was up and then I heard that there were rumours that they wanted me.

“I was playing for Trinidad and the Galaxy boss Bruce Arena was the US national coach and he’d seen me play and wanted me to join.

“Beckham was there when I was and I just thought it would be something that I would never get the chance to do again.”

Gerrard himself is thrilled at joining the US club, adding: “I’m very excited to begin the next chapter of my career in the United States with LA Galaxy.

“The Galaxy are the most successful club in Major League Soccer history and I am looking forward to competing for more championships in the years to come.

“I am committed to helping the LA Galaxy compete for trophies and to having an impact in Los Angeles and I will give my all for the club.

“In the meantime, I will continue to give everything for Liverpool for the remainder of this season before joining up with the Galaxy.”