Despite all the stick he’s received in the past, Jordan Henderson masterfully captained the Reds through Europe and emerged victorious from the final to deservedly lift the Champions League trophy.
But, together with his many admirers, Virgil van Dijk has sung the praises of the Reds skipper: “As a person, Hendo is one of the most fantastic [people] you can ever meet,” the Dutchman told ESPN.
“He has been putting the team before himself for years. What I like is that he uses everything he has experienced — the lows, the criticism, the trouble with injuries — to help others through similar situations.
“What he does gets overlooked because people think you wear the armband to look good in it and shout a lot and that’s the job done.
One more time in slow-mo? Go on then 🎉 pic.twitter.com/U4qEwdxui3
— MB (@MrBoywunder) June 2, 2019
“There is so much responsibility on the pitch and off the pitch: you have to think about everyone else before you get to yourself and Hendo is very skilled at that.
“If any young player wants to follow an example, it should be him.
“He is a fantastic leader who everyone respects so much at Liverpool, and I’m very happy that he is my captain.”
That Van Dijk – the captain of the Netherlands national team – sees in Henderson the qualities of strong leadership, and is happy to follow him, shows how influential he has been to this Reds side.
Some had tipped Van Dijk to permanently take the armband from the Englishman, after the Dutchman was internally selected as third-choice captain behind vice-captain James Milner.
But it was always going to stay strapped round the No. 14.
Long the victim of succeeding Steven Gerrard as captain, Hendo has had to wait until now for the outside world to see the ultimate vindication of his abilities as a footballer and a leader.
Now, like his legendary predecessor, Hendo has lifted Ol’ Big Ears and brought glory and pride back to the Anfield faithful.