Wearing the captain’s armband for a football team is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. For some, it’s a reward relentlessly chased and seized. For others, it’s foisted upon them, and they must sink or swim.
For Jordan Henderson, it’s probably a little of both. And while he spent the better part of two seasons as a vice-captain while learning what it means to wear the armband for Liverpool Football Club from no less a legend than Steven Gerrard, there was little that could’ve prepared Hendo for the challenges he inherited at the start of the 2015-16 campaign.
In a video published on the club website, Henderson sat down for a conversation with Carli Lloyd, best known as captain of the United States Women’s National Team. In their discussion, the Liverpool skipper admitted he had to learn the job as he went.
“I sort of grew into it over a short space of time. I shout now and then but not too much. Maybe on the pitch I am more vocal and then off the pitch I talk to people one-on-one a bit more and try to lead by example when I'm off the field. I try to lead my life right and work as hard as I possibly can and do the best for my teammates as well. So I am really enjoying it and there are a lot of good captains and leaders in the team. We all sort of chip in and make sure everything is running well and so far so good.”
It sounds like Henderson really tries to get the rest of the team to take responsibility and show initiative on the pitch, rather than rule the squad with an iron hand. And that’s a good thing. Good leaders are the ones who get buy-in from those under and around them. Given the sense of togetherness in the squad, it sounds like it’s working.