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Henderson Makes "Massive Strides" to Meet Expectations

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It's never too early to ask someone to be your Valentine, and it's fair to say that Jordan Henderson once again proves himself worthy of our affections. Won't you be ours, Hendo?

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Hendo prepares for his annual tonsilitis screening.
Hendo prepares for his annual tonsilitis screening.
Paul Gilham

We're not exactly shy about our love of Jordan Henderson around these parts, but it's not hard to maintain that affection when Hendo cuts such a likeable figure on and off the pitch. In the fine art of the media interview, Henderson usually says all the right things, but it's the fact that he not only sounds genuine but also believable that frequently sets him apart.

A player known for keeping his head down, doing what's asked of him, and not being afraid to put in an extra shift, Henderson has spoken on multiple occasions about his constantly evolving game. In speaking with the Liverpool's official magazine, Henderson identified a few specific traits in which he's seen some change this season.

"I think there are a lot of areas I've improved in," said the midfielder. "Perhaps the biggest would be my tactical awareness; I've made massive strides in terms of defensive transition and offensive too.

"There is huge expectation at Liverpool but that's why I came here in the first place. The best players have great expectations on them because they want to perform at the highest level every single week and they're expected to do so. That's what I want."

Henderson has certainly demonstrated his ability to thrive on the pressure of being at a big club, first through the unfortunately rough start to his Anfield career, followed by a botched attempt to sell him to Fulham and then an experiment to shoehorn the player into any available position regardless of his suitability for the role. Henderson took each of these challenges in stride, and always seems to use his own self-awareness and ambition to find a way to make it work.

"I think it can only really benefit me," Henderson said of his ability to play in multiple positions. "If you can play in various positions you've got more chance of being in the team and all I want to do is play. At the same time I really enjoy the different roles.

"If I'm playing in a deeper position in front of the back four or back three as more of a controller I like the responsibilities, and it's the same when I'm playing on the left, right or centrally off the attacker with more chances to get forward."

That Brendan Rodgers had considered Henderson a candidate for the vice captaincy is unsurprising given the player's impeccable attitude. His low maintenance, low controversy, and 100% Grade A work ethic make him a great role model for younger players, and aside from Lucas Leiva there are few better examples in Liverpool's squad of a player who powered through being out of favour to become an integral cog in his club's side.