Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Jordan Henderson could have left Liverpool last summer as part of the deal that was meant to bring Clint Dempsey from Fulham. The deal never came through as Henderson turned down the chance to move to London and rather opted to stay at Anfield and fight for his place.
“I remember the conversation I had with him, bless him,” said Rodgers in the Liverpool Echo.
“We were at the hotel and it was towards the end of the (transfer) window.
“I pulled him in and I told him: “Listen, I am not pushing you out but this offer has come in.”
“But I got the response I wanted. He told me that he wanted to stay here and fight. I told him I would help him improve as a player and improve his game because he has got all the tools.
“At 23 years of age, he has got his whole career in front of him. It is thanks to his quality and professionalism that he is making marked improvements.”
At the time, most Liverpool would have preferred to see Henderson leave and Dempsey come in as Henderson had not being playing well for the Reds. But this season, the 23-year old midfielder has been one of Liverpool’s best players as he has featured regularly since the start on the campaign. Looking back, it seems like it was a good move to keep Henderson instead of bringing Dempsey in.
Henderson has been asked to play at right back, central midfield and attacking midfield and this versatility has resulted in him being recalled into the England squad. Hendo is going to play a critical role for Liverpool this season largely due to the fact he can slot in at different positions when injuries creep into the side. If Rodgers opts to continue playing with a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 formation, you can expect to see Henderson featuring regularly either in the middle of the park or being pushed wide on the right.
With the shortage of defensive midfielders at Liverpool and in the England national side, I think it would be best if Henderson’s starts now to be groomed as a defensive midfielder. He certainly has the physical attributes and the engine to make that role his own for both club and country for the next 10 years.