Henderson says his improved form is thanks to Gerrard

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The vice-captain pays tribute to his mentor.

With the news that Steven Gerrard is leaving Liverpool at the end of the season Jordan Henderson has been moved to praise his captain.

It’s easy to forget with Henderson now an established figure for club and country that when we first signed him for £20m from Sunderland in 2011 he looked to be an expensive mistake.

Whilst many dismissed the 24-year-old as a lost cause Gerrard clearly saw the potential in the midfielder and the vice-captain has paid tribute to his mentor.

“He was one of the big reasons I came to Liverpool – to be playing with the likes of him every day,” Henderson told Football Focus.

“He’s been fantastic for me and I couldn’t thank him enough for everything that he’s done for me.

“I was quite young coming into such a big club, but Stevie’s been a massive influence on me, even when I was younger, just watching him play. So to come in and train with him every day was a bit strange at first.

“But he made me feel very at ease with him. He was very normal – a genuine person, who is very humble and that made me respect him even more when I came here. He was fantastic from day one.

“When things weren’t going so well for me, he would give me advice and encouragement and I just always felt that he could see how much I wanted to improve and how much I worked hard on the training field and in the gym.

“I sensed that he always wanted me to do well. I think I’ve improved over the last few years and a lot of it is down to him.”

When Gerrard leaves it will be the natural progression for Henderson to step up and take the armband and the club legend probably couldn’t think of a better candidate himself.

Whether or not the England international can be as influential for us is doubtful, but then that is more due to the brilliance of the veteran than the inadequacies of his understudy.

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