How it could all be different for Jordan Henderson today. Having been signed by Kenny Dalglish in the summer of 2011 from Sunderland, Henderson reveals that he may not have been a Liverpool player today as Brendan Rodgers could have sold him in the summer to Fulham has part of the deal that would have bought Clint Dempsey to Anfield.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Henderson said,
“There was an opportunity that got brought to me (the move to Fulham) but I wanted to fight for my place. The manager was happy with that. Even when I wasn’t playing, he was still helping me, which meant a lot; a lot of managers will forget about you. I always felt he believed if I could do the things he was saying, he would give me the opportunity and he did. I kept working hard and repaid the faith he had shown in me. The manager has been brilliant since he came in.”
Henderson who was signed for a reported £16million plus add-ons, was a big disappointment to many Liverpool fans during his first season at the club under Dalglish. The pressure of such a huge transfer fee for a young player weighed heavily on him, coupled with moving to a big club like Liverpool.
The following season under Rodgers, Henderson improved slightly but he was not quite the player Liverpool fans hoped he would be and many called for him to be moved on. So it is no surprise that Henderson was part of a potential deal for Clint Dempsey, but that deal never went through and thus Henderson is still at Liverpool and fighting for his position.
Henderson’s versatility is what makes him a good squad member. We have recently seen in the absence of Glen Johnson due to injury, Henderson has been able to slot in at right wing back. The last two games against Crystal Palace and Newcastle, he has been asked to play alongside Steven Gerrard in midfield. Some say that being too versatile can hamper a player; I agree with that school of thought.
For a coach it is a pleasure to have a player who can play in multiple positions but at the end of the day, the player should be a specialist in one position and work hard to perfect that position. If you look at Jamie Carragher and when he started his Liverpool career, he played in central midfield. He then spent time operating between, left back, right back and centre back until ultimately he settled in at centre back and perfected that role.
When it comes to Jordan Henderson, he played a lot of his football at Sunderland on the right side of midfield and he has played there too for Liverpool. But central midfield seems to be where he will end up playing and making a name for himself. He has the physical attributes to be a dominating central midfielder and has the legs to get from box to box. Henderson would have to work a lot on his decision making and picking out the right pass in that role. Liverpool currently are a bit thin in terms of central midfield options with only Gerrard, Lucas and Allen in Henderson’s company. If Henderson is given a chance to settle in central midfield he could be an England central midfielder for many years to come.
It is a good thing that he stayed with Liverpool and turned down the chance to join Fulham. Now he has to prove himself and all the doubters wrong.