Defending a young footballer from false harsh criticism.
Jordan Henderson is a Brendan Rodgers’ ‘footballer’. Now stick with me here, I know both Steven Gerrard and our popular Brazilian midfielder Lucas, are and will be above him in the pecking order. Gerrard’s best position for Rodgers is that holding midfielder who gets on the ball and plays forward penetrating passes in dangerous positions much like Pirlo did in Euro 2012. Lucas will be Rodgers’ ball winner and then will keep possession for the team with a simple smart short pass. Jordan Henderson can sub in and play both roles, and thats very valuable especially for a 22 year old.
The Club spent a huge chunk of change on Henderson and it was worth every pound. Henderson gets falsely negatively criticized in England, mostly just because of his price tag. Yes, it is a little high but once you sit back and look at his versatility, athleticism, and age and it really is not that far off his valuation. Someone that can play anywhere in the midfield for Liverpool FC and his country, in this case, England, is worth more than one briefcase filled with cash. The people that are complaining about his price did not pay it so what are you complaining about. Liverpool’s owner has the money and does not regret paying the amount he paid for Hendo, Mr. Henry does not lose one second of sleep over it.
Jordan has one of the best first touches on the whole squad. Your first touch is everything, it is a key component to everyones game. His close control and composure are two of his best attributes, and at 22 years old that is very mature of him, plus they will only get better with age. Defensively, Henderson understands that the threat comes from a creative midfielder getting his head up and finding players. That’s why you will see him constantly sprinting towards opposing players that have just received the ball in order to close them down and not let them look up.
Jordan is a pure athlete and one of the purest in England, ever. If the opponent gets a step or angle on him, from Hendo trying to close him down too quickly, he can strafe to cut the dribbler off or turn and chase him down. Henderson knows when to make penetrating runs and when to hold back defensively when we have possession of the ball. He reads the game well and understands team organization, movement patterns, and the rotation of players. If that went over your head a little, basically, he knows how to cover space and can play every position on the field. Jordan is a true ‘futboler’. A ‘futboler’ can play every position on the field and is a true student of the game.
Henderson’s head is constantly on swivel, he knows where his teammates are. He will play many one or two touch balls so quick that it goes unnoticed by some spectators, but is very important as it keeps the ball moving and switches the point of attack quicker than dribbling or using an extra touch. His durability and resiliency also helps the team, this is a team sport after all. He was slightly overused last season due to many circumstances(ie Gerrard and Lucas injuries) but still constantly pumped out ninety minutes and wasn’t seriously injured all season. If it wasn’t for him filling in in different positions for the team, our position in the table would have been much worse than it already was.
This piece will hopefully open the critics eyes and shut their mouths. Actually, Lucas used to get bashed and look at him now. So I don’t mind, they can keep hating on him, but hopefully this educates them in the footballer he is and the great footballer he will become.