Gabby Agbonlahor has thrown his support behind Liverpool over the handling of skipper Jordan Henderson’s contract.
Reports have suggested that early talks between club and player are yet to reach a viable conclusion over extended terms, with European heavyweights of the likes of Atletico Madrid said to be closely monitoring the situation.
“He’s got two years left and he’ll be 33 when the two years are done. We’re not talking about a player who will be 25 when the two players are done,” the former Aston Villa star told Football Insider.
“If I’m Liverpool, I’m thinking ‘There’s no rush.’ You’d only be rushing if the player was down to his last year and was in his 20s.
“I don’t see any problem in Liverpool not signing him up yet. There’s no rush. It’s not a problem.
“There’s a lot of football to be played in the next two years and we’ve seen Henderson struggle with some injuries. Liverpool are probably thinking ‘Let’s wait and see how he does in the next 18 months then we’ve got a decision to make.’
“A central-midfielder at 33, there’s a lot of running in there. I think Liverpool are playing it right.
“He could leave like Wijnaldum but maybe that would suit Liverpool. You don’t know what his form is going to be like in two years time. Your legs get a bit slower when you get to 32, 33.”
With a contract expiring in the summer of 2023, there technically isn’t a rush to get new terms arranged for the England international, though it will undeniably be a situation the club will want to keep on top of given his importance to Jurgen Klopp.
The power of sport science and modern recovery has meant that 30 is no longer the fixed point of decline for footballers.
That being said, Henderson’s struggles with injury throughout his Liverpool career certainly raises questions as to the benefit of handing the midfielder a long-term contract.
We at the EOTK could see the club being far more willing to opt for patience and issue yearly updates to the 31-year-old’s current terms, should his value to the side not wane significantly in the next couple of years.
Though there are parallels with Gini Wijnaldum’s contract saga, it’s not necessarily an issue that should invite sheer panic just yet.