Despite rumors that summer signing James Milner might be in the running to succeed Steven Gerrard and an asinine suggestion that Raheem Sterling be given the armband, there seemed few legitimate challengers to become Liverpool's new captain other than 25-year-old Jordan Henderson. And, two days before the club leave for their preseason tour, Henderson was officially confirmed as the man to take up the permanent captaincy in the wake of Gerrard's exit.
It's a role that the central midfielder filled with increasingly regularity last season as Gerrard's influence faded, and while it seemed an awkard fit at times, especially early, his status grew over the course of the season. Liverpool's record with Henderson as captain was excellent, and it seemed that the young squad responded well to his leadership.
Now the job is his for good, and he was predictably excited about the opportunity:
"I'm absolutely delighted and proud. It is a great honour and a huge privilege to be named as the captain of this football club. When Steven [Gerrard] wasn't in the team last season, I tried to do the best I could when I stepped in and took the armband. Now I'll be looking to carry that on and continue to grow as a captain. I'll look to give my best all of the time, put the team firmly first and try to give them - or help them with - whatever they need from me.
"I've learnt a lot off Stevie and how he conducted himself as the captain of this club both on and off the field. You'll always learn from top players - and Steven was exactly that. I'll use what I learnt from him to help me, but I also have to do things in the way I think is right. I'll carry on from what I was doing last season and I'll also try to take on more responsibility for the team and my teammates. We all have the same goal - and that's to bring success to this club and our incredible supporters."
Now Henderson takes on the task of leading Liverpool forward in what's surely a make-or-break season for Brendan Rodgers, and his tenure as captain starts with helping the squad remain focused in spite of the unrelenting circus surrounding Raheem Sterling. It's not his job alone, of course, but with a long two weeks ahead of them and short turnaround after returning to Merseyside, Liverpool will need to make the most of all that preseason has to offer, and Henderson will be tasked with helping ensure that all involved are on the same page.
Congratulations to Jordan Henderson, and hopefully his time as captain proves successful.
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