Current and past teammates of Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson have spoken up about the kind of player and man he is in the LFCTV documentary Henderson: The Making of a Champion. The detailed tributes are also available on Liverpoolfc.com.
Here are some highlights:
Trent Alexander-Arnold spoke of how the skipper acts as a role model for him, and how Henderson leads so effectively on the pitch:
“That’s one of his best qualities: knowing when to encourage and knowing when to give it to you and let you know that you need to liven up and wake up. I think many people have heard him over the last year, with no fans there, on the telly and stuff like that!”
Importantly, Trent does not overlook the quality of play that his captain adds to the side, even if his main focus is the kind of man the skipper is.
“He’s an extremely talented footballer first and foremost but also the engine he’s got on him, the intensity he plays at, the desire he’s got to win and commit to the game and to the team [are his standout qualities on the pitch]. He drags the team through games with his energy and it’s just motivating to see him, the way he is so up for it, never really going through the motions, always 100 per cent committed to everything he does. I think it’s just infectious throughout the team.
“He almost still plays like he’s got a point to prove to people, when I think a lot of people would tell him that he doesn’t. I think that’s what motivates him and he finds that the best way to get the most out of himself. I think he is someone who has found his motivation and uses it. He’s never satisfied with what he’s got. He’s achieved so much, especially as captain of the club, lifted so many memorable trophies for us, but he still wants more and he still pushes us to get more.”
Virgil Van Dijk told viewers that his previous relationship with Henderson influenced his choice to come to the club in the first place:
“Jordan is a great guy, a good human being, a fantastic player, a great captain for the club, a leader. [I have] only positive and good words for him. I had a good relationship with him [before signing for Liverpool]. We were sharing the same agent before I joined the club so we were already in contact then and it helped me a lot to make the decision to come to the club as well, so big credit to him! He is a humble guy, works hard every day. I am just happy for the achievements he has had so far in his career. I am just happy that he is my captain as well.”
James Milner spoke about his mentality, and his willingness to share the trophy-lift moment in Madrid:
“That sums him up right there, wanting to share that moment. It’s all our moment, him lifting the trophy, but every single player would have wanted him to lift it and lift it on his own. I think my words were something like: ‘If someone else lifts it with you I’ll rugby tackle them off the stage!’
“That again shows his selflessness. He’s always thinking about other people before himself but he’s our leader. There wasn’t a change in how he acted after that, it’s not like he was any different before that, but you could just see that he was more comfortable in that role I suppose.
“I think other people stood up and took notice of what he brought to the team as well. Obviously he had his ups and downs at the club before that. Like every footballer he had hard times and stepping into Stevie’s shoes is no easy task at all. So, the way he’s done it, the manner he’s done it, the way he’s led the club: I can’t say enough good things about him.”
Adam Lallana added depth to Henderson’s character, perhaps letting the documentary in on things Henderson would have preferred to have been left out — while nonetheless highlighting the captain’s importance in his life:
“There’s definitely layers to Jordan. When I joined Liverpool he didn’t speak to me for the first two or three months! He hates me saying that but it’s true! But gradually, you peel back the layers and you’ve got a humorous lad that loves banter, but loves the quiet, simple life.
“We’ve got a great relationship now, our friends and families are very, very close. He’s probably my best friend and I know the wives are best friends and the kids were very close and went to the same school. So we’ve created a unique and a special friendship that will last forever.
“He speaks when he’s spoken to, doesn’t often embark in conversation. But I think the more you dig, you get him to open up and express himself. But he’s forever putting other people first: that’s why he is the best captain I’ve ever played for and that’s why he has won all the awards that he has, personally and as a team.”
Jamie Carragher put Henderson’s achievements into perspective:
“To be a great captain [of Liverpool], you’ve got to lift trophies. That [the Champions League win] was an iconic moment and the ‘Hendo shuffle’ is now infamous around the world, certainly on the back of winning that European Cup! That is a great example to every young kid up and down this country, what Jordan Henderson has achieved. He’s a massive role model, not just for Liverpool supporters and young kids around here, but everyone in this country.”
These short interviews and more are available in the LFCTV documentary, which joins the also brilliant Hendo: 10 Years a Red series produced with care by The Redmen TV. Get your Hendo content in ahead of the Euros.