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A big moment in the career of Jordan Henderson occurred recently when he was named the vice-captain of Liverpool.

It was a monumental occasion for the up and coming English midfielder.

Jordan Henderson – From Liverpool outcast to vice-captainThis crowning achievement had huge significance for Henderson, as he has seemingly transformed from afterthought to star for the club.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had only good things to say about Henderson. According to Rodgers, Henderson is “someone who represents the best values of what we are all about, as a team and as a club”. Rodgers has also made mention of how dedicated Henderson has become, and how he has made immense progress as a Liverpool player. This is high praise coming from a man who almost gave up on Henderson a couple of years ago.

In the Summer of 2008, Henderson signed his first professional contract with his hometown club, Sunderland. After a loan spell at Coventry City (then a Championship side), he began to finally make an impact in the Sunderland first team. He appeared in all but one Premier League match during the 2009-10 season, and ended the season with two goals and six assists. He was also named Sunderland’s Young Player of the Year. The larger English clubs soon began to take notice of him.

Henderson followed that strong season with an even stronger 2010-11 effort. He tripled his goal scoring record to six (in all competitions). He also won Sunderland’s Young Player of the Year award for the second year running, and he was also named in FIFA’s thirteen young players to watch. After over 70 appearances for the club, Henderson made a big money move to Liverpool. But as he would soon find out, a move to a bigger club would equal more pressure.

Henderson was brought in with a lot of expectations, and the youngster was expected to contribute to the club’s rebuilding effort. But after just one season with the club, it was Rodgers himself who gave Henderson the freedom to leave the club. This was even after Henderson had won the Liverpool Young Player of the Year award. The club had dropped to eighth place, and things were beginning to look bleak. But Henderson decided to stay and fight for his place, and eventually, his hard work paid off.

He finally became a mainstay in the starting lineup during last season, and he was a large reason that Liverpool was in the title race into the final day. He scored big goals in matches against Tottenham and Swansea City. He was even hailed by his manager as the “most improved player in the Premier League”.

His play with Liverpool earned him a place in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man World Cup squad. He partnered with his club teammate Steven Gerrard in the midfield against both Italy and Uruguay. Though England disastrously exited the cup in the group stage, Henderson gained some valuable experience. As we enter the Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018 qualifying cycles, he will be a key player for England’s effort.

He has gotten off to a flying start during this season, assisting on three goals and scoring the match winner against West Bromwich Albion. Though the club are currently in ninth place in the Premier League, they are sure to climb up the table. No doubt will Henderson be a part of it.

Originally published at voomfootball.wordpress.com

Post written by Datti Jinkiri
for Voom Football, Blog: Voom Football, Twitter: @Voomfootball

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