Henderson habit should no longer be a surprise

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Jordan Henderson has grown accustomed to seeing his value to any given cause called into question. Back in 2010, after making his senior debut for England, many suggested that he would go on to join the one-cap wonder club.

Fast forward a few months and, despite making a move to Liverpool, plenty were of the opinion that a spell at Anfield would be brief. Well, that man has gone on to lift Champions League and Premier League titles as captain of the Reds, while taking in over 70 appearances for his country.

Pedigree

Henderson’s most recent appearances with Three Lions on his chest have come in Qatar, with England positioning themselves among the favourites in World Cup betting odds before a ball was kicked. With so much potential at Gareth Southgate’s disposal, plenty of World Cup betting tips were weighted in favour of the side that has waited 56 years and counting for tangible success.

There was also plenty of pedigree within those ranks, with Henderson now slipping into that category as a seasoned performer whose experience and leadership qualities mark him out as a useful asset to any manager.

His selection was, unsurprisingly, questioned by some ahead of another major tournament in the Middle East, while his inclusion in starting XIs for group-stage encounters had some wondering if Southgate knew what he was doing.

Of course he did, with a famously risk-averse tactician not the kind to take selection gambles – regardless of how calculated they may be. He was, of course, to be proved right when Henderson slotted seamlessly into the engine room alongside a man who may one day fill his boots on Merseyside.

For all of the exuberance in England’s class of 2022, the odd calm head is required in order to prevent emotions from spilling over. Throughout a career that has allowed him to remain at the very highest level, Henderson has proved adept at making those around him look good.

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That is a criminally underrated attribute and one responsible for so many critics having taken aim at an unsung hero. He has always been able to block out the noise, saying on

opportunities to sever ties with Liverpool that appeared to come along all too frequently in his early days – with Fulham very much in for him at one stage: “It was an opportunity I didn’t want and I didn’t like. I still felt I had an awful lot to give.”

Some 400-odd appearances later, that point could not have been hammered home any harder.

Doubters

There will always be some who remain unconvinced, while most players endure the odd dip in form every now and again, but Henderson has picked up and retained a useful habit of silencing his doubters.

More of the same was offered up when pulling on the colours of his country at a global gathering in Qatar, and that should no longer come as a surprise. Liverpool’s skipper has been proving people wrong for longer than he probably cares to remember, and there is no sign of that quality deserting him any time soon.

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