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Henderson Welcomes Pressure, Should Just Be Named Vice-Captain Already

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In his fourth season at Anfield, Jordan Henderson has become an undoubted leader in the Liverpool squad, and ahead of a busy early season stretch, the vice-captain frontrunner welcomed any added pressure headed his way.

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Jamie McDonald

After informing his ankle that there simply wasn't time for an actual injury earlier this week, Jordan Henderson turned in a typically industrious performance for England away to Switzerland. It wasn't his best by any stretch, as performances under Roy Hodgson tend to be, but he logged another 90 minutes in an important win for his country. After underwhelming against Norway in a 1-0 friendly win at Wembley a few days earlier, the pressure had mounted on Hodgson's squad to produce in what was likely to be their toughest fixture in qualifying.

Henderson and England withstood the pressure in securing the 2-0 win, and while that's a relatively new experience as far as England are concerned, it's become commonplace for Henderson. The expectations at Liverpool are, after all, much higher, and that's a reality that the fourth-year man relishes:

"There is always going to be pressure because Liverpool is a big club. Everybody expects us to do well, especially with how we did last season, so you have to deal with pressure when you're a footballer. Everybody loves that pressure because it means you are doing something right and people are expecting you to do well.

"You have to put the pressure on yourself when you go out and perform and you have to give 100 per cent and just give your best every time. Personally I feel as though I've been through a lot over the last few years. I feel as though I have matured a lot and I can deal with it in my own way. I can do more things. The more pressure, the more I like it. I think that will be the same for quite a lot of the lads as well."

Had he said something similar upon arrival in the summer of 2011 (and I'm sure he did), the words wouldn't have seemed quite as genuine. But in a whirlwind 18 months that's seen him go from spare part to vital cog in the successes of both club and country, there's little reason to doubt. His place in the Liverpool side now secured, sights should now be set on the vice-captaincy. In the eyes of many he's the frontrunner, and rightly so. There are no better candidates in this Liverpool squad to take Steven Gerrard's place on a temporary basis, and, with a few more years' maturation afforded, permanently.

There will be a moment this season, possibly even in the next few weeks, that we'll get to see Jordan Henderson captain Liverpool in the Premier League and Champions League. Pressure doesn't come much greater than that, and we can rest easy knowing that those moments are not only the ones he's most looking forward to, but ones that will see him flourish.