Jordan Henderson used to ‘dominate’ games with his impressive dribbling ability and was tipped to become a ‘Jack Grealish type player’ during his early days at Sunderland.
That’s according to his former Academy coach John Herdman who is now in charge of the Canada national team competing at the Qatar World Cup.
The 32-year-old, who is also out in the Middle East representing England, moved to Liverpool in 2011 and has since captained the club to every major trophy possible – something that is testament to his character according to his old coach.
“He was head and shoulders above players at that time. He was playing up an age group, sometimes two age groups,” Herdman told talkSPORT (via ChronicleLive). “He played with that intensity. I watch him play now as an adult and he has this look on his face that just has this intensity, and he had that as a kid.
“For me there’s a character. He had a real personality to influence and impact the game. At that age he was a killer. He would dominate the game through his dribbling abilities, so seeing him now as more of a passer… I pictured him being a Jack Grealish type player in terms of his dribbling ability.
“His personality hasn’t changed and it’s amazing to see the same personality is pervasive and it’s those players who don’t let the game knock it out of them. They tend to get there and he’s done that.”
Herdman coached the Reds No. 14 when he was just 11-years of age but it’s clear that he saw the potential in the midfielder when he was a youngster.
Henderson has flourished in a more attacking midfield role during his time at Anfield, most notably during our heartbreaking 2013/14 campaign which saw us miss out on the Premier League title by a couple of points to Manchester City, but he’s very much a box-to-box midfielder nowadays under Jurgen Klopp.
He helps control proceedings in the middle of the park and although we have more technically gifted players in our squad than the boyhood Sunderland fan, his importance to the side doesn’t go unnoticed.
It’s always interesting to see how players develop and evolve as they get older and it’s credit to Hendo’s attitude and work rate that he’s had such a remarkable career.
He’ll be hoping to taste success on the international stage for the Three Lions in the next few weeks and we also wish Herdman and his Canada side all the best in Qatar.