Inter Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu considers Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso to be his “inspirations” as a player.

The 30-year-old named the former Liverpool duo in an interview with Copa90, via FCInterNews. He also talked about how playing as a deep-lying playmaker was the perfect position for him.

This season has seen Calhanoglu take yet another step in his growth at Inter.

Where last season had seen the Turkish international make the transformation into a holding midfielder, this one he has been playing that role from the very start.

And there has been a newfound confidence to Calhanoglu’s game playing at the base of midfield.

In Simone Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 system, the role seemingly gets the very best out of the former AC Milan and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder’s qualities.

And as Calhanoglu reveals, two major inspirations for him are legendary former midfielders who also had great versatility and the ability to play deeper on the pitch despite also having great technical quality.

Hakan Calhanoglu Names Steven Gerrard & Xabi Alonso As “Inspirations”

“I have idols in the game,” Calhanoglu said.

“I used to watch players like Andrea Pirlo,” the Turk said.

“Although he didn’t defend as much as I do.”

“I think I get more inspiration from players like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, or Xabi Alonso,” Calhanoglu said.

“I take something from each of them. But I just want to be my own player.”

Calhanoglu continued that “Everyone knows me as an attacking midfielder.”

“But it all started with my coach Inzaghi’s decision during a Champions League match against Barcelona,” he continued.

“When Marcelo Brozovic was injured.”

“We won 1-0,” Calhanoglu looked back. “And I scored the winner.”

“It all started with that match,” the Inter midfielder reflected. “I kept playing in that position. I feel very comfortable playing there, and I’ve grown a lot.”