12/07/2012 10:14:00 am

'It's the best I've seen him play' - Whelan hails 'scared' LFC star after win...

After Liverpool's hard-fought 1-0 victory against Udinese last night, Reds manager Brendan Rodgers heaped praise on match-winner Jordan Henderson, who put in a very effective performance on the night. Liverpool legend Ronnie Whelan, who also played in midfield for the Reds, was also impressed by the England U21 captain's contribution.

Analysing the game on LFC TV, Whelan picked Hendo as Man of the Match, enthusing:

"We've watched him a lot lately and noticed that he's been scared to shoot, but I think his overall display will help him more than the goal.

"In the first half he did a lot of good stuff, getting forward, getting back; passing was good; not giving the ball away.

"It’s probably the best I’ve seen Jordan Henderson play, especially away from home where he needed to stand up".


Of all Kenny Dalglish's signings, Henderson has the most potential to become a decent player for the club, but despite his good performance, I still don't see him as a regular starter, either now or in the future.

The problem with Henderson is he is a confidence player; he doesn't have the self-motivation and mental strength of a player like Jonjo Shelvey, who has total belief in his own ability. As an example: after Udinese game, Henderson once again underlined the fact that he is a confidence-player:

"The goal tonight might just give me a little bit more confidence. I just have to keep going, keep working hard and keep smiling really".

I would described Henderson as reactive confidence player, and this explains why he often chooses the safe option when passing (sideways/backwards), and it's why he always seems 'scared' (as Whelan observed) to shoot.

Good players have total self-belief; they're not afraid to take risks, and they manufacture their own self-confidence. In other words, they're proactive confidence players, and until Henderson progresses to that stage, he will never be a great player for Liverpool, or any other team.

Shelvey has that belief; Allen has it; Sterling definitely has it; Gerrard and Suarez have it. Lucas didn't have it when he first arrived, but he has that confidence now, and perhaps that bodes well for Henderson in the long term.

Jaimie Kanwar


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42 Comments :

Will said...

I was impressed with him last night, full of energy (as usual) but this time with some end product, he made some really good runs in to good attacking areas at times too. Hopefully we will see more of the same.

The new Dirk Kuyt?

Stella said...

Lucas has always had that mental toughness, he was just adapting to a new county and league at a young age!

Jason Carr said...

he played well allen was woeful again think if he was not rodgers buy he would have to be worrying about his place, hendo as got better with more appearances this season

DiskoBiskit54 said...


Its great to see a young team member progressing and great for LFC with a vital win.

With all the positives; I thought Shelvey and Suso were appalling last night. Giving the ball away needlessly and just a lack of effort. Sad to see in such a crucial game. Thought the young members of the squad would be totally up for big games...

Jaimie K said...

Not that I condone it, perhaps their listlessness is down to the fact that Rodger keeps ignoring them for the first team? Both have played very well this season, yet recently, they've been dumped on the bench.

Jason Carr said...

jaimie surely all the more reason to put 100% in

Jaimie K said...

Yes, I agree, but subconsciously, perhaps they're irritated, and that bleeds into their play.

Voland said...

I could not agree more. However, I also think that Jordan has the steel in him to succeed, just listen to him saying that he is up to the fight and will not give up on his Liverpool career. Have we heard anything like it from Stewart Downing?

Voland said...

It was not Shelvey's best game but I don't think he played too bad either. Suso was actually pretty good, aside from the missed goal chances - he did however provide the assist for Jordan's goal. I think you are being a little harsh here ...

Jason Carr said...

with lucas back ,allen will be playing further forward so it will leave less places in midfield,this comp could be there best chance of appearances so they should grab it with both hands.imo allen should be given a rest on sunday and let ,shelvy or suso start cannot see it happening thou

Voland said...

Agree about Hendo but not about Allen, he kept the team ticking, was a cool head and provided some leadership together with Reina in the absence of natural leaders like Gerrard and Agger. Henderson also stood up to be counted, he does not have Allen's cool head but he does have the commitment and is willing to fight for the cause to the very end.

DiskoBiskit54 said...


Agreed Jamie; Shelvey was All Red for he first few games of the season and in such good goal scoring form. Not to mention putting in dominant performances.

He does look rather listless at the moment. I do hope we keep a hold of him though cause he surely has the potential to be a big player for us in days to come...

Felderkirk said...

I totally agree Jaimie, but I'd go even further and question Henderson's 'game intelligence' (to use a Rafa-ism). 

Personally, I think Henderson played better in the Wigan game than he played in the Udinese match. His function in the Wigan encounter was the 'keep things ticking over' role, and he did this admirably. My problem with him is that the Wigan match took place only a couple of weeks before Lucas returned to the squad. Henderson had the guts of 3 months to learn that role and to make the position his own - without any competition - but he was either too proud or too naive to recognise the opportunity. 

Intelligence-wise, I think he's lacking. Last night, with 5 minutes to go, Joe Allen was acting as a pivot between Carragher and Skrtel - just taking the ball off one and passing it to the other, playing out time very sensibly in the face of zero opposition. Henderson decided to get in on the act and he took the ball from Allen before kicking what should have been a simple (but entirely unnecessary) 20 yard pass  to Sterling inside the Udinese half. 

Henderson overhit it, off the ground, forcing sterling into an error that gave the ball back to Udinese. It annoyed me also because Sterling was criticised for it by ITV's commentary team. 

Then, the obvious one was in the dying seconds when Henderson missed a header that he HAD to get to, presenting Di Natale with the chance to knock us out. If that had gone in, the fault would surely have been with Henderson, and all this talk of 'confidence' would have been the other way around. 

Personally, I'd like Henderson gone from LFC as I don't think he has the mental capacity nor the responsibility to play for a club of this size. And it's a shame because, as you say, he's got the most potential out of the depressing British dross that Kenny felt the baffling urge to bring to the club in the summer of 2011. 

One last thing - errors by downing (crossed when he should have kept it in the corner), Enrique (went for header he didn't need to and conceded a free), and Henderson (missed a header he had to get to) in last 2 minutes of injury time last night nearly cost us.  All 3 are Kenny signings and although Enrique has performed well of late, I think the rash, unintelligent mentality is important to address. We're not going to get lucky every time and these players WILL definitely end up costing us games. 

FdotM said...

I thought Hendo played very well yesterday! Was a breath of fresh hair to see him play to his ability. However Shelvey and Suso gave the ball away to much. And Suarez needs to look up more and look the pass rather than trying to do all by himself all the time. Maybe he does not trust he's team mates?

Overall I was pleased with the performance. And Carragher, apart from a few mistakes, played well too.

Pete said...

There is nothing to suggest that Allen has this self-confidence and 'belief'. Henderson refused to move to Fulham and was determined to prove himself at LFC and that's enough self-confidence for me.

Both Allen and Henderson play plenty of safer balls. Shelvey plays in a more advanced midfield role like Gerrard so of course he needs self belief to score/create goals. A striker with no belief/confidence: look at Torres now. Lucas never shoots, but that doesn't mean he has no confidence. I think confidence and self belief is different for every type of player.

I've said it for a while now Hendo provides balance in the midfield, and I pick him over Shelvey and Sahin at the moment.

alanacourt said...

I agree about your comment re KD's signings. Suarez and Henrique also crap or had you forgotten them when you made your wide ranging statement

Joe said...

another over-valued homegrown english player...

FdotM said...

This once, this twice and this thrice!

Exactly my thoughts!

FdotM said...

Hendo is earning around 70K a week. Fulham would not offer him that much for a fact so no wonder Hendo refused to go.

Sahin is a good player but people hyped him up too much when he scored the 2goals vs West Brom...Based on his performances so far he is not worth it. But then again he has been injured and we know the type of player he was at Dortmund.

FdotM said...

Haha indeed Sir, indeed!

Stella said...

I feel he is too quick to pass on responsibility to team mates when he should go grab the game by the scruff of the neck alla Shelvey/ Gerrard. He has begun to show signs though, hoping this last month of games will spur him on!

Eric said...

We play three in midfield. Lucas being one and Allen being two, that leaves one more starter spot when Gerrard phases out. Henderson will not be the player to be a starter in a three man midfield that can compete at the highest level. Compare him to Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Iniesta, Gerrard, Kaka, Modric etc. He doesn't have that ability. He just doesn't. My guess would be Lucas with Allen and Suso in front of him.

OriginalChan said...

'compare him to Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Iniesta, Gerrard, Kaka, Modric etc. He doesn't have that ability. He just doesn't '

Allen and Lucas don't come off all that well either, when compared against them

Suso isn't ready, nowhere near ready to be starting consecutive games. Has a lot of potential but is inconsistent and he fades out of games too much, especially in the second half of games. Better off as a sub. Its no surprise that he has only lasted a whole game once, just once (Young Boys away). The rest of the time he starts games, he predictably gets subbed as he disappears. His game/presence isn't mature enough yet. He may have a lot of potential ability but in terms of the here and now, too raw. Hopefully over time it will get better, his ability to stay involved in the game but he is way off the mark at present, imo. Reminds me of Luis Garcia, in both good and bad ways at the moment.

Brian -Ormskirk said...

Sorry, but Henderson still doesn't ring my bell ! Still seems to drift in and out of games. Which Jordan Henderson will turn up for the next match? Having received a few plaudits for his performance last night will he sit back and revel in those, or will he concentrate and try and improve on last nights performance ?

OriginalChan said...

Ditto, for the right money, a player will go anywhere.

Orme said...

Average overpriced players, but not retarded- with right management we can use them and get good return, when used in right games and right positions.

tesoman said...

I couldn't agree more with you and I'll even go one farther because this is not the first time this season we're seeing this. Suso has done well, but for all shots he takes, most of them either miss by miles or go straight to the keeper. He would have at least 5 goals this season if he could finish cause he pops up in great areas with his great skill (shooting practice asap!). For me, as good as Shelvey is, he is very inconsistent with his work-rate. Some games he's all over the pitch and those are the games he scores great goals. But, like yesterday, he has games where he'll loose the ball and totally give up. Walking on the pitch disinterested. That is not the Liverpool way and I hope BR has a little talk with him. Playing a team that looked like they had given up you'd think the youngsters would look to make a statement with this game and force themselves into permanent first-team contention. Instead we barely squeezed through...just imagine what the discussion would be if Di Natalie's strike had found the net at the end of the game?

Caoimhe17 said...

His forms taken a major slump since the red against manure. Suso signed a new contract an his form dipped, i think that's why Rodgers took him off in the 1st have against Wigan, to send a message just because you've been rewarded with the contact doesn't mean you can relax.

Orme said...

Not Suso, he can't defend, he should play with allen annd leiva only

Jaimie K said...

Great points, Feldy. Totally agree that Henderson lacks the requisite game intelligence. He's a trier, and seems like a good person, but I just can't see how he's ever going to be a regular starter for LFC. I'd sell him too.

Ben said...

he has been played out of position to accommodate for gerrard who's been really poor & got no legs anymore. Lucas was in the same boat at the same age as jordan so i think the future is bright for the young man. Imo the soonet gerrard hangs up his boots the better for all the midfield, the chelsea game last year proved that the game toda y is all about pace.

Gary352 said...

Ive said this before and I will say it again. When Liverpool don't have possession and Gerrard is in the team, it is a burden. Gerrard doesn't cut out passes and close space because he doesn't have the drive or power anymore. It showed against Tottenham when Henderson and Allen were trying to intercept and close space and read passes but Gerrard wasn't helping out with that, so there was always a man unmarked. If defence and attack are both sound, tempo can rule over a game, and thats where Liverpool are lacking. Gerrard looks good when hes closer to Suarez, but in the midfield he isn't that engine anymore. Against the top teams this is so obvious. He is a legend but we can't have that reliance on him anymore, as Rodgers has said, he has carried the team for far too long.

Gary352 said...

I thought he played well last game, he was cutting in alot, and whenever he got the ball he tried to make things happen. He had the vision for some good passes except his execution wasn't spot on. Your right on the fitness though, he needs to improve in that regards.

Jason Carr said...

imo allen is all hype very overated

Pete said...

Disagree, I don't think it's about the money. Don't underestimate Fulham either because they could put Hendo on at least 50K a week. Henderson got his chance at a big club and he has a right to fight for his opportunities and I'm glad he hasn't given up.

w k said...

Hendo needs to play like he did at Sunderland...he can b strong option for Lvpool midfield. YNWA

Craigcooper said...

I'd have to say I'd disagree with that as regards Suso anyway. He's only 18, and he has only just broken into the first team this season. He hasn't exploded in terms of his development in the same manner sterling has. His energy levels are also much less than Sterling, and sometimes he tends to drift in and out of games. Therefore it would be irresponsible for Rodgers to play him in every game, and could actually stunt his development. Young players need to be properly conditioned. I think Suso would know that too, and be happy with the amount of appearances he has made so far. He has great potential he's not ready for the same extent of games as sterling.

As regards Shelvey, he's a very talented player but he is inconsistent. One moment he can make a defense-splitting pass and then next he can give the ball away needlessly.His confidence on the ball is refreshing, but yet over-confidence often seems to lead him to being sloppy. He's only 20, so I've no doubt he will start to develop more consistency in his game as he gets more experience.

Both will be very good players for LFC given time, and with the likes of shelvey, suso, sterling, wisdom and Allen, the future looks brighter.

YNWA

Vonruseemakennels said...

Downing is by far a better player than Hsendo. Downing has by far better fight in him . Both lack confidence but Downing at least hassles and draw out defenders. Everyone knows all ready that he is not passing forward. Look at the goals both have scored and see who is more of a threat to opposition

Mpstevieg008 said...

hendo should be sent on loan in jan to get more playing time and then we'll see how he is .if not progressed ,should be sold in summer

OriginalChan said...

Who knows what goes on behind closed doors, with both Hendo and Fulham. Fulham may have the ability to spend that much in wages but its whether they think he is worth putting on those wages is another question. Its fine for a big side to splash that kind of high wages on a average player as they can carry it but its a different story with smaller clubs like Fulham. They potentially 'could' but the question is 'would' they, and I doubt it. You say don't underestimate, I say don't overestimate. They have one of the smallest wage budgets in the league. More than ever, money talks and I think its cheesy old-school hype that this is some heroic attempt at making it at a big club by Hendo. That is just my view and like I said, who knows what goes on.

OriginalChan said...

I'm talking generally and even in the last game, he was fading out of the game (that isn't just fitness) but so too were a few players, in his defence. He predictably got subbed again. Bit too wishy washy and sloppy, his game at the moment. The technical ability is obviously there but takes more than that to have a reliable presence in a game and that isn't just a fitness problem. He is a young lad so this is par for the course the inconsistency, in the short term. He shouldn't be playing regularly for us just yet but we have a poor squad, so needs must. Doing fine for a young lad but for a regular first team player, way off the mark. He certainly is no Cesc who played like a experience player from almost minute one, in terms of the maturity of his game. Got bags of potential of Suso but imo, not ready.

Pete said...

Fair points. I just don't see Henderson as the 'swimming in the cash' type of player if you understand me. Most people give him stick and I have in the past too, but I think he makes a genuine attempt and I appreciate his efforts. He will break his back to get in the team and that's what I respect. Some players don't care and like you said, money does talk. So who knows, but I'll keep faith in Hendo.

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