Roy Keane was angry. The Sunderland reserve team just lost to Gateshead in a game. Keane first criticized several main players, and then turned his attention to a teenager in the corner.
"Do you think you have the ability to play for the first team?" Keane asked with a frown.
"Yes, I do think so." Jordan Henderson replied.
"Good answer." Keane said after a pause.
Henderson was only 17 years old at the time. Under the gaze of his childhood idol Keane, he was "sweatly sweating", but his self-confidence did not waver and he still had the courage to express his inner thoughts.
"In fact, at that time, he firmly believed that he would one day become a big man." Henderson's former teammate in Sunderland Stephen White said with a smile, "but obviously, this is only because he has always been confident in himself."
That conversation left a deep impression on Keane. He promoted Henderson to the first team the following season. Since then, Henderson has played in 71 Premier League games for Sunderland until he moved to Liverpool for £16 million in 2011.
Today, the 30-year-old Henderson has helped Liverpool win the Champions League trophy and the first Premier League trophy, becoming one of the greatest captains in club history. In a sense, Henderson is like Liverpool’s midfielder, and when he was absent due to injury from the end of February to early March this year, the team’s record was significantly affected: the unbeaten record of the Premier League was lost by Watford. At the end, he lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup.
Henderson is a popular candidate for the PFA (Professional Players Association) Player of the Year this season, and his importance to Liverpool is generally recognized. However, in the past, Henderson has been criticized for several years.
Few players have been questioned and belittled by the outside world as often as Henderson. When Henderson joined Liverpool in 2011, many people said that he was not qualified, the transfer fee was too high, and he was unable to establish himself in England. In his autobiography published in 2013, former Manchester United coach Ferguson even questioned his running posture.
"I must admit that when he went to Liverpool, even I was a little skeptical..." White added, "Frankly, I was very surprised that he moved to Liverpool at such a high value."
In Liverpool, some people do not recognize Henderson's ability. Although Henderson played in Liverpool's first season more than any other player, the club has always questioned him. At the end of the 2011-12 season, the team's new head coach Rogers even recommended Henderson to Fulham for the purpose of signing Dempsey from Fulham in a cash and player exchange.
When Rogers told Henderson the news, Henderson was shocked. But Henderson's response reflected his determination: He refused to leave the team and vowed to prove himself at Anfield. "It was a difficult time, but I think it helped me." Henderson recalled. "Looking back now, I was a blessing in disguise."
当罗杰斯告诉亨德森这一消息时，亨德森感到震惊。但是亨德森的回应反映了他的决心：他拒绝离开球队，并发誓要在安菲尔德证明自己。 “这是一个艰难的时期，但我认为这对我有所帮助。”亨德森回忆道。 “现在回想起来，我是因祸得福。”
In the next few years, there were still people who questioned and criticized him, but Henderson worked hard to win the trust of Rogers and was appointed captain after Gerrard left the team in 2015. Since then, he has been the captain of Liverpool.
"Henderson conquered all those who doubted him. This is really an incredible achievement." said White, who is now a scout in Liverpool. "He walked into a dressing room with a lot of big names: Carragher, Gerrard and Bellamy, but he always insists on his inner thoughts and grows in his own way. He has a firm will and determination, you can see from his eyes."
From the evaluation of Henderson by his teammates, you can also feel his personality.
"I don't know if the outside world underestimated him, but in the club, I know everyone thinks of him very high." Van Dijk said at the beginning of the season. "When you fight side by side with him, train with him, or see his behavior off the court, you will be happy that he is our captain." Robertson added. Arnold described him as a "perfect role model."
“我不知道外界是否低估了他，但是在俱乐部里，我知道每个人都对他的评价很高。”范迪克在赛季初说。 “当你与他并肩作战，与他一起训练或在场外看到他的举止时，你会很高兴他是我们的队长。” Robertson添加了。阿诺德称他为“完美的榜样”。
Henderson is very dedicated and requires his teammates to contribute all their strength to Liverpool. The relentless pursuit of improving himself has helped Henderson through difficult times, and this season, he has inspired his teammates to maintain momentum with this spirit.
In January this year, Liverpool beat Tottenham 1-0 away. Other Liverpool players were celebrating a difficult victory, but Henderson was angry at the team's performance and said "not good enough" when he walked into the player channel of Tottenham's home court after the game. Shortly afterwards, Liverpool beat Southampton 4-0 in a game, and Klopp described Henderson as a "example" for his teammates. "Does he look like the captain of a team that leads the league with 19 points?" Klopp said, "No, not at all. If you observe his words and actions on the court, you might even think that once we lose, You have to downgrade."
For most of this season, this attitude of Henderson was extremely precious to Liverpool-when Liverpool "surrendered" to Watford at the Vikariji Road Stadium, the fans miss him very much.
"When he was a youth training player, he was very professional." White said, "He always finishes training very late, he will practice free kicks or other areas that need improvement, just like he is now. If you listen to him after the game, you will find that he never thinks about the league, but only thinks about the next game."
From a competitive perspective, Henderson has also become more comprehensive than in the past. In the past, some people criticized Henderson for being too fond of passing the ball to the side, but now he always shows a strong forward consciousness and is praised for it. If you compare the average number of passes to the "offensive zone" every 90 minutes, Henderson's statistic only lags behind Arnold among all Liverpool players. In addition, Henderson's Premier League goals have reached the sum of the previous three seasons.
Henderson plays his talents in a position he likes, but it is crucial that he always prioritizes the team and fills other positions when the team needs it. For example, in a Club World Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Monterrey, he even played as a central defender... Henderson was praised for his outstanding performance in that game, but he did not want to take credit alone. "I have great players by my side." He said, "I just try to contribute all my strength to the team, and we won the victory. If the coach needs me to be the central defender again, I will do it."
This selfless spirit is another reason why Henderson is indispensable to Liverpool.
"Henderson is a perfect team player." Jamie Redknapp said. "When he received the pass, there were three players in front of him: Mane, Firmino and Salah. His first thought was always:'Can I pass the ball to them as soon as possible?'"
“亨德森是一个完美的团队合作者。”杰米·雷德克纳普（Jamie Redknapp）说。 “当他收到传球时，前面有三名球员：Mane，Firmino和Salah。他的第一个念头始终是：'我能尽快将球传给他们吗？'”
"He is a leader and the players absolutely respect him. In addition, he also scored some important goals for this Liverpool team... I know how stressful it is to be the captain of Liverpool. I remember when I was first appointed When I was the captain, I did not perform well. It was too difficult because all the spectators are staring at you and hope you are as good as the great captains in the history of the team."
"But I think Henderson handled the pressure well. He was very relaxed and didn't worry about anyone comparing him to Gerrard.
"It's really hard. I used to play with Gerrard. He is a native of Liverpool and the fans admire him. In contrast, Henderson has to work harder to win the support of Liverpool fans, but he has I did it. Now everyone knows the value he brings to Liverpool."