In fullJordan Henderson's matchday programme notes
Read Jordan Henderson's matchday programme notes in full.
I remember following last season’s FA Cup final more closely than I normally would, given we weren’t actually participating in it ourselves. I was more than just an interested observer, I should say.
It would probably be pushing it to claim I was watching it with the same interest and excitement as if, say, Sunderland were there, but it wasn’t far off it. And that was because of the person leading Leicester City into that day: Brendan Rodgers.
I’ve been blessed to have some fantastic coaches and managers during my career and I hope I’ve always gone out of my way to express the gratitude I feel towards them publicly as well as I do privately.
Here at Liverpool I’ve always felt I won the lottery with the leaders I’ve had to work with.
Sir Kenny Dalglish showed the belief in me to bring me here and without him and Damien Comolli I’m certain things would have been very different for me personally. Beyond making the decision to actually sign me, Sir Kenny made joining a giant institution like this, as a teenager, manageable. He made me feel like I belonged.
I could write pages and pages on Jürgen and have said a lot in recent seasons so it doesn’t need repeating – what he’s done for me I don’t think I could ever pay back.
But Brendan is a person and a manager to whom I also owe so much to, for so many reasons.
I look at Leicester’s squad of players, ranging from the highly-experienced pros to the ones just starting out, and think they’re so lucky to have a person like him and his immediate staff guiding them.
Brendan’s approach was always about trying to help you improve yourself. I learned so much working for him. And I mean this professionally and personally.
I think I became a better player and a better person thanks to the time he invested into me. I look back now and realise how much of that I have taken into the rest of my career.
The Premier League at the moment has the best managerial and coaching talent available in world football working in it. You look up and down the league and each team is led by a person with stellar credentials. But for me, Brendan has to be towards the top of any list of talent in that field.
When Andy Robertson starts talking about Brendan’s Celtic team and what they achieved north of the border you have to put aside a couple of hours because he doesn’t shut up unless you physically stop him.
For obvious reasons it’s been easier to follow the progress made at Leicester City under his stewardship because we are in the same league and face each other a number of times a season.
He’s made them a consistent rival at the top of the table. They are always in the conversation now about teams to watch and worry about. And it brings me back to their FA Cup final win. What an achievement.
I honestly could not have been more chuffed for Brendan, Chris Davies, Kolo Toure and Glen Driscoll. Four guys who are top people first and foremost but also brilliant at what they do. And four guys who contributed a great deal to Liverpool Football Club and set us on the path we have been on for the past five or six years.
It’s nice seeing good people have success and apart from when we are competing directly with them, such as today, I hope they have more in the future.
Finally, this is the last programme column I will write before Christmas and I’m conscious I’m doing so in very uncertain times.
On behalf of all the players, I hope you are all healthy and safe. I hope you are all prioritising your own health. I hope you are thinking about the well-being of people you care about and the wider community.
I am woefully inadequate to start talking about any health or medical advice. As our gaffer says, we have to trust those with the knowledge and expertise to guide us. But I do want to say look after yourselves and each other, be it around matches or in day-to-day life.
Having you come and support us is the greatest privilege we have as professionals. We never take it for granted and we know you make sacrifices to follow us.
This team appreciates having you behind us at all times and whatever happens in the coming days, weeks or months we can maintain our connection through our common connection: Liverpool Football Club.
Please take care and enjoy Christmas, no matter how you choose to mark that occasion.