If Jordan Henderson could pick which game he would like to miss due to suspension, the 4th Round of the Cup Formally Known as the Capital One/Carling/Coca-Cola/Milk/etc Cup might be a good one. The captain does not see it that way, though.
Henderson will miss tonight’s show-down with Spurs on account of picking up his fifth yellow card. With only eleven appearances under his belt this season, even fellow caution machine Lucas Leiva is impressed with Hendo’s production this campaign. The skipper just barely missed the December 31st cut off.
“This match has all the makings to be a brilliant game,” Henderson wrote in the match program, “I think it’s fair to say there are similarities in how we both approach it. Both teams are positive, high-tempo and want to attack. The fixture at White Hart Lane earlier in the season was amazing to play in, the pace of the game was unbelievable. I’d fully expect it to be the same tonight and we have to be ready to go 120 minutes and maybe even further if that’s what’s required.
“Unfortunately I’ll be watching tonight and not contributing because of suspension. I won’t dwell on the topic except to say I’m disappointed in myself that I’ve picked up five bookings so quickly in the season and it’ll be something I look to learn from and address. I know the strength of the squad is such that the team will be strong, whichever eleven the manager starts with, but I’m gutted I’m not in contention to play.”
This season Hendo is adjusting to being the deepest of the three midfielders, and with that position comes certain inherent risks. The best defensive mids have to occasionally make the cynical “professional” foul to break up a play before it becomes too dangerous, and such offenses often result in a caution.
In learning the position, Henderson must become better at picking his spots. This is very early in the season to be serving the first suspension for card accumulation, and it is now far more likely that Henderson will become eligible for suspensions for 10 cards (2 games) or even 15 (3 games).