It’s fair to say that Jordan Henderson doesn’t get nearly the recognition that he deserves.
He’s proven himself under three different Liverpool managers. He earned the most Premier League appearances of any player last decade. He’s consistently one of the first names on the team sheet for club and country. He’s already lifted as many trophies as Liverpool captain as club legend Steven Gerrard. And yet very few—even among Liverpool fans—would consider him among the best in the world.
Flamengo manager Jorge Jesus, having just seen the captain boss things for 120 minutes in the Club World Cup final, disagrees with this conventional wisdom.
“Henderson is the best midfielder in the world in his position,” Jesus said in an interview with the Portuguese network CMTV .
“[Jurgen Klopp] never sacks him, but the two offensive midfielders, [Naby] Keita and [Georginio] Wijnaldum, sometimes are replaced. The others players are always the same.”
This is a bit of oversimplification, not only about the rotation, but also about the position. When Fabinho comes back, it’s likely that Henderson will move back to a more box-to-box role. And it’s also likely be rotated more than he has been over the last month.
While Henderson can do a job—an excellent job, in fact—as a holding midfielder, the manager would still prefer his Brazilian teammate in that role. He might be among the world’s best at the holding role, but still only second best in this group of stellar Reds.
However, his value to the team—both in leadership and footballing talent—is unquestionable, and he’s slowly getting recognition from outside to all the aspects of his game that we’re lucky to see week-in and week-out.
And hopefully that recognition will continue, especially if Henderson manages to surpass his Gerrard in his captaincy trophy haul this season, by winning the thing he could never quite get his hands on.