Interview'Immaculate' – Steven Gerrard assesses Jordan Henderson's World Cup so far
'Immaculate' is the word Steven Gerrard uses to describe Jordan Henderson's World Cup to date.
Liverpool captain Henderson is preparing for England’s quarter-final tie with France and goes into Saturday’s match having turned in outstanding back-to-back displays in their victories over Wales and Senegal respectively.
And his showings have come as no surprise to the man who preceded him as Reds skipper.
“Obviously being an England fan I’m following England and Jordan from a personal point of view. I think he’s been immaculate, both on and off the pitch,” Gerrard told Liverpoolfc.com.
“His last performance he was obviously Man of the Match, very well deserved, and he shut a few critics up that for some reason seem to point fingers at Jordan.
“Being a midfielder, being around Jordan on the daily basis, to see the sacrifices, his dedication and what he puts into his own preparation, the hard work that he puts in, I’m not surprised that he’s putting in this level of performance and I’m delighted for him.
“But it seems as if a lot of people outside the LFC family don’t need an invite to point a finger towards him so I’m delighted that he has shut a few up.”
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Henderson came into the Three Lions’ starting XI ahead of their final group-stage fixture against Wales and, having excelled in a 3-0 win, retained his place for the last-16 meeting with Senegal.
The 32-year-old duly scored the opener as England registered another 3-0 success to advance to the quarter-finals and Gerrard believes his former teammate’s nous has been vital to his country’s success so far.
“Experience would be the most important thing,” Gerrard replied, when asked what attributes Henderson has brought to Gareth Southgate’s midfield.
“I think England have got a lot of young, exciting talent, but you need experienced players that positionally give these younger players licence to go and cause a lot of damage.
“I think Jordan, what he’s found in that performance is a typical Jordan Henderson performance where he is solid, his A to Bs are all really good, positionally he is bang on, but at the right time he joins in and gets himself forward.
“He’s a really strong runner and his timing for the goal and his execution of the goal was world-class and it was the perfect all-round performance, so credit to him.”
In being selected in Southgate’s squad Henderson has joined Gerrard as one of only four male players to have represented England at six international tournaments, with Wayne Rooney and Sol Campbell the other names on that exclusive list.
What does that say about Henderson’s quality and how highly all managers he has played under evidently rate him?
Gerrard stated: “I think the most important thing in football is to be valued by your manager, by your coaches and by your teammates. Would your teammates pick you?
“And everyone who speaks about Jordan speaks glowingly because he is very selfless, he works his socks off, he does as much running as anyone else, he’s a fantastic passer of the ball, he’s unselfish on the pitch. His performances allow other people to get the credit a lot of the time.
“So, he’s very much appreciated by me, as an ex-teammate and someone who is following his career really closely, but every interview that you hear, when you’re in the game listen to people that are around Jordan, that are playing with him and that appreciate him. Don’t really take much notice of anyone on the outside because it’s just useless noise.”