Jordan Henderson has been the Reds captain since suceeding Steven Gerrard in 2015. Ever since that momentous handover, the 29-year-old has endeavoured to establish his own ontological status as Liverpool skipper.
Defined in greater relief by Chris Bascombe in The Telegraph, it seems clear the former Sunderland midfielder’s selfless captaincy is defined by a leadership of cooperation and modesty. A fact that was clearly discernible in the Reds Champions League win in Madrid and the resulting trophy lift.
The words in The Telegraph bear reading in full, so we have quoted the piece nearly in its entirety.
“Everyone looks at the captain to lift the trophy and everyone speaks highly of the captain when you win a competition, but if you rewind to a year or two ago, people would have been criticising the way I am and asking if I should be captain,” Henderson admitted.
“That is not for me to get involved with because they do not really know. You can’t judge a captain on performance. There is a lot more than the way you play at the weekend. A lot goes into it behind the scenes, not just me.
“There are a lot of leaders in this group and the manager. I don’t see why I should be given more praise.
“Even though people outside may have doubted (me), I have never felt it was that way inside. The players and manager have always been 100 per cent behind me and I have always felt their confidence.
“Listen, don’t get me wrong. I’m so proud to captain this football club and I don’t take that lightly. Just playing for this club is unbelievable, and to captain it and lift the Champions League trophy was unbelievable. But that’s not what it’s about for me. Just winning the European Cup was enough for me, with this team, this manager, this club.”
In black and white, the Reds’ captain show here how his altruistic tendencies. Equally, it should be noted that none of this is disingenous – this is not practiced, false media speak, but the honest admission of the club’s playing spokesperson.
Ironically, there was also an iconic moment as the man who wore the armband sought out the one who donned it priorly. With confetti filling the air and chants ringing out in Madrid, Hendo looked out for Gerrard to take a photograph with “Ol’ Big Ears.”
Having won it in Istanbul, Gerrard kindly turned him down, claiming: “This is your night – enjoy it’.”
In like, Henderson found another of his heroes, sharing a hugely emotional embrace with his father: “I don’t know how he got down by the side of the pitch,” he explained.
“I know how much it meant to him and what he’d been through the last few years, so to see him so quickly after we had won…you’re so elated by the whole moment.”
But it was exactly that: moments. And there will be more to come if Henderson has anything to say about it; instances of glory, strained through silver cups and the taste of victory.
“We have been talking for the last few seasons about being so close to winning a trophy. We kept going, kept fighting and now we have got that major trophy and we want to win more,” says Henderson.
“We want to use this to propel us. We don’t want to win one trophy and that’s it.
“We have come a long way in the last few years and we just want to continue on that journey, that curve riding up. Keep improving.
“Everybody will want to beat us. I felt that was the case last season anyway and has been for a long time. Everybody wants to beat Liverpool. We have to deal with that like we have done.”
“Football moves so quickly that you want to focus on the future and not get caught up in what you have or haven’t achieved in the past. It’s about moving forward and wanting more,” Hendo declared.
Of course, these opportunities will be coming thick and fast in the upcoming season. A Community Shield raises the curtain for a campaign glistening with the possibility of trophies, followed quickly by the UEFA Super Cup final against Chelsea in mid-August.
The momentum is with the Reds and we’ll need it to carry us through a Premier League crusade and the fight to hopefully defend the Champions League title. With Henderson leading the charge, the battle begins once again.