Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen has backed Jordan Henderson as the next club captain, but doesn’t believe the 24-year-old is at the same level as Steven Gerrard.
Henderson is set to take over as Liverpool skipper when Gerrard completes his move to LA Galaxy at the end of the season, and Owen says there is a lack of candidates to take over from the 34-year-old.
‘I think Jordan Henderson will captain Liverpool, judging on what (Brendan) Rodgers has been saying about him,’ Owen explained. ‘However, I am reluctant to compare Henderson to Gerrard, as I don’t believe he is blessed with the talent of Stevie and I’m not sure he will be able to develop it.
‘He’s a quality player and talkative on the pitch. He plays every game and when you look around the pitch for candidates, there aren’t too many obvious choices.
‘I think he is a decent replacement as captain, but I wouldn’t want to compare him with Gerrard because there aren’t too many players in the same league as Gerrard in terms of quality.’
Owen also says he hopes Gerrard stays fit for the remaining five months of his Liverpool career. The 34-year-old missed the 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday, but could return for tomorrow night’s League Cup semi final first leg against Chelsea at Anfield.
‘Gerrard’s final game at Anfield will have a similar atmosphere to Sir Alex Ferguson’s at Old Trafford,’ Owen said. ‘Hopefully, he will stay fit, healthy and involved for it.
‘It will be an unbelievable atmosphere and the fans will give Gerrard the perfect send off. It will be very emotional for Gerrard, as he hasn’t known anything else apart from playing for Liverpool. Every game which is now played at Anfield, I am sure the fans will appreciate Gerrard even more.
‘It is probably a nice move [to LA Galaxy], because he won’t be upsetting anyone. He would’ve liked to stay on with Liverpool, but circumstances conspired against this.
‘It is disappointing for everybody that something couldn’t have been reached sooner to keep him at the club.’