By Connor Varnish – @cvarn4
Jordan Henderson – despite what social media has led most to believe over the years – is really good at football.
While he’s had his critics throughout his Liverpool career, he has emerged on the other side as a respected captain and European champion, with the possibility of even more silverware firmly set in his sights.
It’s fair to say Henderson isn’t the most technically-gifted captain in Liverpool’s illustrious history, but whatever the 29-year-old lacks on the ball, his drive and determination make up for numerous times over.
He’s a natural born leader and deserves all the praise in the world for rekindling his Anfield career. It’s understood Henderson urged Jurgen Klopp to play him a bit higher up the pitch as he felt his services were better utilised in a more advanced position compared to the No.6 role in which he has usually performed since the German’s arrival.
The ex-Sunderland man bet on himself and it has ultimately saved his Liverpool career. Since moving into more of a No.8 role, he has been immense as he finally can once again showcase his work rate and engine in a fashion we haven’t seen from him since perhaps the 2013/14 season, where he was granted similar freedoms under Brendan Rodgers.
While Jordan Henderson’s trophy haul as Liverpool captain isn’t the most impressive, I’m sure lifting the Reds’ sixth European Cup on June 1st is a nice consolation in being his only trophy wearing the armband.
The Mackem joined an exclusive club that night as he became fifth captain to lift Ol’ Big Ears in a red shirt – and he’s in some pretty good company as well, as he joins Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness, and Steven Gerrard.
It would be a disservice to rank Henderson amongst the aforementioned club legends, although there’s little doubt that he has written his name in history as a club legend for lifting the European Cup. The Liverpool captaincy comes with overwhelming expectations, and in order to be remembered you simply must win trophies. Hendo has now done just that.
Comparisons are largely subjective and, sadly, I’ve only been fortunate enough to witness a Liverpool side captained by either Sami Hyypia or Steven Gerrard, so I’ll leave the comparisons be.
What’s most important, I would argue, is that Jordan Henderson is deserving of all the praise in the world (even though the skipper would shift the praise to the manager and his team in true Hendo fashion.) He’s what this Liverpool team needs, and that kind of importance cannot be measured.
He’s a top professional and is deserving of lifting the European Cup – our Jordan has come a long way throughout his Liverpool career. He has divided opinion up until June 1st, and even still I’m sure there’s those that somehow doubt his value to the Reds.
From being offered to Fulham for a swap deal for Clint Dempsey to a career threatening plantar fasciitis issue in 2015, Henderson has had a bumpy ride, but he has realised his destiny as Liverpool captain and a European Champion all down to his relentless attitude and will to overcome those who doubt him.
Here’s to you, Jordan Henderson – may we see you hoist a few more pieces of silverware as captain of our great club.