Henderson's reaction to Diaz, Phillips and Williams deals

Programme notesHenderson's reaction to Diaz, Phillips and Williams deals

Published 5th February 2022
By Chris Shaw

Jordan Henderson has revealed his delight at the arrival of Luis Diaz and detailed the prospective benefits of the loan moves for Nathaniel Phillips and Neco Williams.

The final two days of the January transfer window saw Liverpool swoop to sign Colombia international forward Diaz on a long-term contract from FC Porto.

Phillips and Williams, meanwhile, secured loan switches to Championship sides AFC Bournemouth and Fulham respectively for the remainder of the season.

And the captain explains his hopes for all three transfers in his programme notes for Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup tie with Cardiff City.

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“In the end it was quite an eventful transfer window for the club and on behalf of all the players I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Luis Diaz. I can tell from the reaction online our supporters will make him feel at home very quickly and likewise in the dressing room,” writes Henderson.

“As players we are actually in a pretty similar position to the fans when it comes to new signings. We find out as transfers are developing and I’d be lying if I said seeing a new face come in doesn’t give us a similar buzz.

“Luis has played against us twice this season, so we know his quality first-hand, but what’s more important is that as a dressing room we show him and his young family they are coming into a welcoming environment and help them settle off the pitch.

“The main business that developed on deadline day itself was a couple of players leaving on loan.

“Nat Phillips and Neco Williams have been valued members of our squad and both have played a big role on the pitch already this campaign. They are both also extremely popular in the dressing room, so we will definitely miss them.

“But I couldn’t be happier for both of them that they’ve joined great clubs, with terrific managers – so I’m really excited to see how they kick on and progress between now and the end of the season.

“There has been speculation around Nat since the summer, so I can imagine it’s been hard for him to deal with that at times, but he’s conducted himself superbly.

“He’s a brilliant professional. It’s clear from the cult status he has with our supporters that people see Nat as a great guy… and when you get a chance to know him personally you realise he’s even better!

“It’s impossible to understate the contribution he made last season in helping us secure Champions League football during the most challenging of circumstances for the club. He deserves to be playing regularly and this loan will undoubtedly help with that.

“I don’t know what went on behind the scenes, but it looks and sounds like there was Premier League interest as well. No question he belongs at this level by the way, but I think Bournemouth is perfect for a lot of reasons.

“Scott Parker comes across as a superb manager. Adam Lallana, although at Brighton as a player, has close connections to Bournemouth as a club and he says it is the perfect place for Nat at this moment, so that will do for me.

“Neco was in a similar situation. He’s made a big contribution here in a variety of competitions, but again starting games on a more regular basis is important to him. He’s a big player for Wales and with World Cup qualification still a possibility, it’s understandable there is a strong desire to be on the pitch as often as possible. Fulham are flying and I’ve only heard great things from Harry Wilson about the place and their manager Marco Silva.

“I suppose the only thing is that both clubs are competing with each other at the top of the table, so those of us here who will be following and supporting the lads during their loans will have to remain neutral if they’re in a race together for automatic promotion come May.

“Regardless, Bournemouth and Fulham are fortunate to have two outstanding players and top lads.”

Henderson continues: “We’ve had a lot of success using loans to help develop our younger players, with Harvey Elliott to Blackburn last season being a very up-to-date example. Sometimes the loan is a big success and the player ends up wanting to stay and make it permanent, like Ryan Kent at Rangers.

“There are occasions where on the surface of it the temporary move can appear not to have worked out, because players didn’t play as much as they had wanted… but even then there will be things the young lads take from the experience they can use and benefit from.

“Rhys Williams and Leighton Clarkson have returned from Swansea and Blackburn respectively and are involved with us at the AXA again. I can tell you from seeing them in training both have taken many positives from their time away. Both look to have matured from being in a different environment and facing different types of challenges.

“There is no perfect formula to any loan. Having done it myself, at a young age, it’s about what you take from it yourself. As long as you view it as an opportunity, it can only help your development and future.”

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Published 5th February 2022