Steven Gerrard has urged Alfredo Morelos to aim for the stars if he wants to eclipse idol Radamel Falcao in the eyes of Colombia coach Carlos Queiroz.
The Rangers hitman will come up against his hero and international team-mate for the first time when Gers face up to Galatasaray in Thursday’s winner-takes-all Europa League clash.
Former Manchester United assistant boss Queiroz has already been in touch with Gerrard to inform him he will be keeping a close watch on both of his strikers when they face off at Ibrox.
Falcao may have lost some of the mobility that made him one of the most feared frontmen in the game during red-hot stints with Porto and Atletico Madrid but Gerrard has full respect for the 34-year-old.
He knows Morelos has some way to go to match the feats of a players who has twice gone all the way in the Europa League and is Colombia’s all-time record scorer.
But he sees no reason why “El Buffalo” should not aim for the top.
“I’ve read before that Alfredo has an incredible amount of respect for Falcao, which is great,” he said.
“He should use Falcao as a role model and a hero for the level he is striving for, to have a similar type of career.
“Interestingly, I’ve had a conversation with the Colombian national coach, Carlos Queiroz, who tells me he will be watching both players on Thursday night.
“I think the only incentive for Alfredo is to impress the Rangers fans and to impress me, the coaching staff and his team-mates with another fantastic performance at this level.
“Because we know when he’s at his best how important he can be for the team. That should be his only focus.
“But, of course, before the game and after the game it’s good for him to have a role model in Falcao.
“As a young player, Alfredo should always strive to be the best he can be. I don’t think there is any harm in reaching for the stars.
“Falcao has been a world-class player for many, many years. He’s someone I myself admit looking up to as a player.
“In the game, every player has heroes and inspirations to try and follow. I’m sure that’s what Alfredo is doing because Falcao deserves all the credit he gets in the game. He has stayed at the top and delivered at the top for so long.”
Morelos is back in Gerrard’s line-up after being criticised for lacking focus amid long-running rumours of a move to Lille.
But Gerrard does not expect the attention that is paid to his top scorer to fade away after Monday’s transfer deadline.
“You can see Alfredo looks in better shape, he’s looking sharp and his all-round game has come back,” he said.
“But the biggest and most obvious thing I’ve noticed is that he looks happy. He’s smiling, he’s better around the place, he looks focused. His professional attitude has been spot-on.
“Normally, when you have that approach, good performances come out on the pitch and that’s certainly what we are seeing of late.
“But I don’t think the questions will ever stop being asked of me about Alfredo. I’ve been asked questions about him ever since I walked through the door two years ago.
“You know and I know that they are never going to stop.
“I won’t be relieved on Monday because I’m pretty fine sitting here right now. I won’t be rubbing my hands together when the transfer window shuts, I’ll just be carrying on every day like I normally do.”