By Lee Jaundrell 1/10/11
When I first read Liverpool were likely to be signing Jordan Henderson for around £16million, I wouldn’t say I was unimpressed rather I was kind of indifferent. He was a player I had heard of, I player I knew I had seen play when watching Sunderland matches, but I couldn’t really say what kind of player he was. He never stood out in the games I saw. The thing I hear most about Henderson is that he goes missing, and I can’t disagree with that view.
I tried to take more notice of him during the Under 21 tournament in the summer, but found myself drifting away from actually watching him, and yes he went missing. He is still young, turned 21 in the summer, and has two full Premier League seasons in the bag. Also, Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli both know more about football than I do, so I have to give young Jordan a chance.
Having now seen him play several times in the red shirt of Liverpool, I can say the lad has ability. He has a good touch, plays with his head up, and has plenty of energy. He scored a quality goal against Bolton, with his wrong foot, and although he missed a couple of chances when through on goal against Stoke, he had the pace, energy and awareness to make the run and get himself in the position to score. Yet the majority of Liverpool fans would have Dirk Kuyt in the team instead.
At 21 does Henderson just need time in the team, another season playing 30 odd games at this level, helping him develop into the player Dalglish obviously believes he can become. There are plenty of examples of players taking time to settle in top teams, some taking half a season, such has Evra and Vidic, or even a full season such as Pires at Arsenal. Looking closer to home a good example of a player taking time to settle is Liverpool’s very own Lucas Leiva, who was a target for the boo boys for a number of seasons, before finally looking very adept last year, and winning the supporter’s player of the season award.
Lucas came out in defence of Henderson recently saying,"I don't blame the young players because I have been in their position for a few years," the Brazilian said. "He is English and has already adapted to the Premier League.
"But to change your club and move to a big place like Liverpool is difficult. I think he is playing well. He will get confidence when he gets more minutes and understands the role he needs to do more.
"We just have to keep encouraging him and give him the confidence to keep improving."
Also, would Henderson get more time to adapt, from the fans, if he had been born in Bootle, and come through the Liverpool ranks. The likes of Jay Spearing and Martin Kelly have not been criticised in their fledgling careers to the extent that Henderson has been in just a few games.
In conclusion, Henderson obviously has plenty of qualities, yes he goes missing, but he is still young and learning the game. He will get the best coaching possible at Liverpool, and us fans must put our trust in Kenny Dalglish and get behind the lad, who could just possibly become a Liverpool great, or at least a very good dependable player for years to come, just like Lucas Lieva. A good place to start would be at Goodison Park today.