Jordan Henderson – Premier League’s Most Improved? (video)

Jordan Henderson’s goal against Aston Villa on Sunday was symbolic of the incredible transformation that the 22 year old midfielder has undergone under the stewardship of Brendan Rodgers this season. It was a goal which had drive, determination and a final touch of quality and typified Henderson’s recent performances throughout Liverpool’s late rally for a Champions League spot.

Liverpool were criticised by many for splashing out £18 million on Jordan Henderson, at the time a young midfielder who although had impressed for Sunderland was fairly still fairly unproven. The signing of Henderson was one of many gambles made by the Liverpool hierarchy and in particular Technical Director Damian Commoli who had also recommended the signings of Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing for £35 million and £20 million respectively.

At first, the gamble on Henderson had appeared to be a failure. The hefty price tag and the expectations of playing for a big profile side weighed heavily on Henderson’s young shoulders and as such the former Sunderland startlet was unable to hold down a regular first team place under manager Kenny Dalglish in a competitive midfield which included Steven Gerrard, Lucas Leiva, Charlie Adam and Jonjo Shelvey.

Henderson began this season slowly and his days playing in front of the Kop for boss Brendan Rodgers appeared to be numbered. However, the midfielder has slowly showed signs of improvement and has achieved greater consistency at Anfield, especially since the turn of the year, earning him several glowing references from the man in the Liverpool dugout:

Jordan has been excellent, he’s a good player, he’s improving tactically all the time and I know if I need to call on him he will be ready.”

Henderson has found his role in the Liverpool side as a box-to-box midfielder and of late he has linked up with team-mates Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez to great effect. His energy and endeavour has made his critics think twice about their initial assessments of Henderson’s capability of making the grade on Merseyside. However in an over-populated midfield where there is plenty of competition for places at Liverpool, Henderson will need to ensure that he maintains his hard-work ethic to demonstrate to Rodgers and the Anfield support that he can become a long-term fixture within the Reds’ starting eleven.

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