It's safe to say that the news of Steven Gerrard's coming departure came as a shock to many Liverpool fans, but it caught the players off guard as well. That was even the case for his vice-Captain, Jordan Henderson.
"This morning was a big shock, to see that Stevie would be leaving at the end of the season," Henderson said in an interview after the announcement. "Nobody had a clue. Obviously we'd seen stuff in the papers about him not renewing his contract and stuff, but I think everybody thought it would get done eventually."
Henderson has seemed to grow very close to Gerrard since he moved to Liverpool from Sunderland three and a half years ago. As his abilities on the pitch have grown, so to have Henderson's confidence and leadership abilities, ultimately ending in him being named vice-Captain this past summer and standing as the overwhelming favorite in the current club to be named Captain once Gerrard leaves.
"It'll be difficult," Henderson said of the impending departure, "because he's such a leader of our group. He's a figurehead, and he has been for many years. It'll be a shock to everybody, especially us players. We've just got to try and deal with it as best we can."
Now the mantle of that leadership will be falling to Henderson. Will he be ready to take it? There's only one way to find out. Henderson will be just 25 when next season starts, but Gerrard was 23 when he took the armband from Sami Hyypia. Henderson has displayed many of the same charisma and leadership qualities that you like to see in a captain, and actually tends to be more vocal than Gerrard during a match. That doesn't guarantee success in the role, of course, but it's a good base to work from.
No matter what, though, it's going to be strange seeing Liverpool without Gerrard at the helm. Jordan Henderson will have a very tough task in trying to fill his shoes.