Even a week ago, suggesting Jordan Henderson would end up Player of the Year in England might have seemed faintly ridiculous, even if most Liverpool fans may have come around to his qualities, and to his indispensability to Jürgen Klopp’s all conquering side.
Those qualities, though, don’t tend to be the things that make a Player of the Year candidate —for the same sorts of reasons it was always going to be an uphill battle for a defender like Virgil van Dijk to overtake Lionel Messi and steal the Argentinian’s Ballon d’Or.
Now, though, Henderson has buzz. Former players, managers, and pundits are lining up to sing Henderson’s praises and he’s gone from a 33/1 darkhorse last month to now being the 1/1 favourite in betting to win the PFA Player’s Player of the Year award for 2019-20.
One might speculate that it all began when Liverpool fans pushed Henderson over the top in voting for BT Sport’s English Player of the Year for 2019, an honour that he won half way through January. Following that, there were the beginnings of quiet chatter.
Following that honour—even if it was fan voted—the first pundits and former players floated Henderson’s name for top season honours. Mostly they were met with derision by fans of other clubs while even fans of Liverpool rather scratched their heads a little bit.
After all, while a Liverpool player must win the award this season, the club have the likes of Alisson, Van Dijk, Sadio Mané, and Mohamed Salah all playing key roles. All, though, have spent time injured—at least aside from Van Dijk, who won it last season.
Meanwhile there was Henderson, doing what he always does. Indispensable; below the radar; overlooked. Not, it seems, any more. Because the quiet chatter has become rather loud, and Jordan Henderson is now your likely PFA Player of the Year.