Liverpool vice-captain Jordan Henderson today signed a new, long-term contract with the club and immediately sat down for an exclusive interview to tell Liverpoolfc.com why remaining at Anfield was always going to be his choice.
Jordan, congratulations on the new contract - tell us how pleased you are to get the deal done...
I'm over the moon that it's finally done. There has been talk about it for a while now. It's brilliant news for me to commit my future to this football club - I really feel that it's a good time for us to look forward to the future, with the squad we've got, the manager, the size of the club and the fans we've got. I really think, over the next few years, we can challenge and start winning trophies. That's the next phase; we've improved massively over the last few years, and I think the next phase for us is to start challenging for titles and trophies as well.
Why do you think Liverpool is the club long-term for you?
I always have. A few years ago I had an opportunity to leave but I always knew how big this club is and I wanted to stay here for as long as possible - and nothing has changed since then. I feel as though I have got a good connection with the club now and I really feel a good connection with the fans as well. So, for me, there was no doubt where my future was going to be and it was just a matter of time for my agent and the club to sort it out. For me, it was purely based on concentrating on my football and then hopefully it would get sorted out. Thankfully, it is now.
You said three weeks ago that this was never going to be an issue for you, you were always going to sign a new contract here...
Yes, I've done interviews in the last few months where I have been questioned about my future, and I've always said that I want to stay at Liverpool, there is nowhere else I want to go. It was just a matter of time for the club and my agent to agree a deal. Thankfully, it is done now - I can really concentrate on my future and helping this team be as successful as possible.
A lot has changed for you quickly, hasn't it? Vice-captain, one of the most senior players, has it happened quicker than maybe you expected?
It has gone fast, but I've enjoyed every minute of it. I have been through difficult times, but I would never change that because I know there will be more difficult times ahead and I'll have to use that and I'll be able to handle it a lot better. I'm over the moon and hopefully we've got many years ahead of winning trophies.
You have said that a big part of that was that Brendan Rodgers told you what you needed to do to get back into his plans and be here long-term...
When the manager first came to the football club, everybody knew his intentions straight away and what he was trying to do. You could just tell in the way he would deliver meetings and what he was doing on the training field that he was a top manager. He helped on one or two things I needed to improve on to get into the team and then once I was in the team, I needed to show that I could stay there and improve. So a lot of credit has got to go to the manager for helping me to develop; and obviously that's another big reason why I'm staying at this football club, because I want to develop as a footballer and I feel this is the right place for me.
You're an ambitious player as well, which would have been important in those discussions. Did the club match your ambitions?
I'm the same as every other player, I want to be playing at the highest level - in the Champions League, winning trophies and being very successful. I'm no different. I had good conversations with the manager about the future of the football club and it was very bright, I was very pleased with what I was hearing. I want to be a big part of that and hopefully I can.
And it's not just you recommitting, very recently Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge have as well - they are going to be very important going forward...
They are two massive players for us, so for them to commit is huge again for the football club. We've got a great squad, we've got some great players and young as well. I feel there's a lot of potential, but we need to start turning that potential into winning things. I've got a good feeling that we can do that.
After the FA Cup elimination, it must have been quite a tough week?
It has been very difficult, especially the way we went out. I didn't feel we played as well as we know we can, which is the most disappointing thing. But you've got to deal with difficult times in your career and move on quickly, because there's another game around the corner. We need to make sure we're prepared and ready for West Brom at the weekend and focus on the last few games of the season.
What would your message be to the fans, because it hit them hard as well? They had dreams of FA Cup glory this season...
The fans are amazing, I've always said that. I couldn't believe, since I first came to the club, how good they are. As players, we have got to take responsibility because people travelled down to Wembley and expected us, as a minimum, to put in a good performance, and we never did that. We'll take responsibility for that as players, look forward to the next game and hopefully we can put that right in the last few games of the season. The fans are very passionate, they'll always support you but they've got high standards as well, just like all of us. We've got to take that one on the chin and make sure we put it right in the next few games and show that we do really care. Hopefully we can put it right and finish in the top four.
You have captained the team as well - how has it felt to lead the team out at Anfield?
It's another huge honour for me to do that. Whenever Stevie hasn't been able to play and I've been leading the side, it has been incredible and I've really enjoyed doing it. When Stevie goes next year, it's up to the manager to decide who the next captain will be; and whoever it is, I'll support and give my all to them. Hopefully, in the future we're winning things and it's bright for us.
Have you been like a sponge with Steven, watching the way he behaves on the field and off the field in case that job is given to you?
I've always been like that. Since I first came to the club, I have always tried to learn from Stevie because he is such a role model to everyone; he does things properly on the training field and off it. You're always going to learn from people like that and players like that. I've always tried to do that. The captaincy is up to the manager. Next season he decides who the next one will be.
Finally, in summary, how does it feel to be recommitted to Liverpool long-term?
It's an amazing feeling. It's incredible, I'm over the moon that it's finally done and I can concentrate on the future of this football club. I can't wait to get going again and play at the weekend and hopefully get a good result.