Three reasons why Jordan Henderson can succeed as Liverpool captain
Jonathan Hogan gives three reasons why Jordan Henderson can be a success as Liverpool captain
The apprentice turned leader
Having already captained the side 19 times as vice-captain and following a season when captain and leader Steven Gerrard was at times very much on the periphery of the first-team, the time has come for Henderson to take on the mantle of Liverpool skipper – and he’s not only ready, he is the perfect choice: the natural successor. Gerrard’s Liverpool was a side driven by his heart and desire, at times single-handedly turning matches when his side seemed down-and-out on their head. That is not to say Henderson will do the same, players like Gerrard are almost irreplaceable, but he is of a similar mould in the engine-room and has spent his time at the club so far learning from the man he will succeed. In a sense, it seems Brendan Rodgers has been breeding Henderson for this moment, fully aware that his side would need to find a way to survive without the talismanic Gerrard. In Henderson, he has a player who “gets it” and who has the ambition and drive to do all he can to steer Liverpool Football Club to success.
Henderson has become one of the first names on the Liverpool team sheet and a far cry from the player who initially struggled following a £16m move from Sunderland in 2011. Since that time he has gradually forced his way into Rodgers’ side and gained the trust of the manager, particularly when handed the armband in the absence of Gerrard last season. That trust from the manager combined with the backing of the Anfield faithful ought to fill the 25-year-old with confidence – which he has visibly grown in year-on-year at the club. Entering right into the peak years of his career, he will back himself to deliver on a consistent basis, and that is exactly what is required from the captain of a club intent on challenging for Champions League qualification and more. Similarly, Henderson’s appointment to the role represents a sense of stability, having led the side previously, which the Liverpool players will both welcome and find confidence in themselves.
An important season
Going into the new season with a well-documented run of fixtures that takes in most of the top sides in the division – away from home – early-on, the pressure is on Liverpool and particularly Rodgers. A poor start to the campaign, it is suspected, could conceivably see him out of a job before Christmas and Henderson having been entrusted by the manager and brought his game to new levels under his spell in charge, will surely have extra motivation to ensure that does not happen. Add to that the fact of Gerrard’s departure, the ongoing Sterling saga that looks likely to see him leave the club and the need to improve on last term to have any chance of qualifying for the Champions League, and this becomes a crucially important few months for the club. For Henderson himself, he will also have Euro 2016 on the horizon towards the end of the season. His fortunes as part of that squad, much like the success of his captaincy, will ultimately rest heavily on the results he can help lead his Liverpool side to. Should Henderson manage to navigate the early mines and thus create a wave of optimism around the club, he can succeed.