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Henderson Eager to Embrace the Pressure

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Increasingly important for both club and country, midfielder Jordan Henderson continues to embrace the pressure of his position, using it to grow further as a player.

Clive Brunskill

Arriving for a hefty £16M fee and being played out of position at his new club as a 21-year-old made for a tough start to Jordan Henderson's Liverpool career. Where some might have folded under the pressure, though, Henderson embraced it. He turned it to his advantage. He did the same when, a year later, he was told he could move to Fulham.

Rather than taking the easy route out, the young midfielder was determined to stick it out at Liverpool and prove he could perform at the highest levels. Now in his fourth year at the club, having become one of Liverpool's most important players and after being named vice-captain, it's clear even to the most skeptical of Liverpool fans that he's done exactly that.

"The interest is massive," Henderson told the club's official magazine. "It's overwhelming really. The club has a worldwide reach which few clubs in the world have. You can walk down the street anywhere in the world and there will be someone wearing a Liverpool shirt. All of that means there's a big responsibility. Everyone is watching you."

It might seem the job description for a professional footballer, but many struggle to adjust to the added pressure when they finally get their dreamed of move to a top club. Henderson, though, has thrived on it, and while it was clear to many the tools were always there, it was no guarantee he would develop into one of the league's most complete midfielders.

His success at handling the pressure of Liverpool has also seen him lock down a place in England's starting eleven, something most would have been skeptical of while watching him flounder on the right in his first season at the club. Some players it seems are built to thrive under pressure. And then, somewhere well past them, is Jordan Henderson.

"Maybe at other clubs the focus isn't there as much," he added. "If you have a bad game once in a while it gets lost and is quickly. At Liverpool the pressure is on every moment of every single game. You can't hide. But I love all of that. You have to deal with the pressure in your own way. It's what you work hard for, to be in the pressure environments like this."