It’s easy to forget how young Joe Gomez still is. The Liverpool defender just turned 23 over the weekend (happy belated birthday, Joe!), but has been with the club for nearly 5 years now.
Gomez came at an interesting time for the club. Long-time captain and club legend Steven Gerrard had just left the club, and Jordan Henderson had some massive shoes to fill. Additionally, manager Brendan Rodgers was on the hot seat after a poor 2014/15 season, capped off with the disastrous 6-1 defeat to Stoke City. Rodgers, of course, would be on his way out before the October international break.
And then came Gomez’s devastating injury, just as Jurgen Klopp took the reins. It must have been difficult for such a young player, but he credits captain Jordan Henderson for helping him through these and other challenging times.
“Hopefully within the last few months and seasons he has started to get the recognition he deserves,” Gomez told the club’s official website, speaking about Henderson’s leadership as captain.
“He is an unbelievable person for me. I’m blessed to have had a captain like him over the last five years, [he’s] just been the most approachable person possible and been such a leader in different ways, on and off the pitch.
“He has taken massive responsibility on in these last few months and it’s been nice in a different way, I think. You see the leader on the pitch, the person that leads by example, but I think off it some of the things he has done and organised have been massive – not just for him, and bigger than this club, [it] has united organisations, the Premier League. As footballers, it has given us the platform to come across in the right way and do our bit.
“Hendo will hopefully continue to get the recognition he deserves because I think here, among us as a club, we’re so grateful to have him as our leader.”
This is high praise from Jo Go. And he’s right that Henderson hasn’t always gotten the praise that he deserves. He’s not Stevie G, but no other footballer is. He is, however, undoubtedly a fantastic footballer and an even better leader on and off the pitch.