5 Jul 2015

Deluded? Owen claims 'dominant' Liverpool star is 'world-class' and better than £50m striker

After his most productive season yet, Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson is finally receiving the credit he deserves for his massive improvement over the last two years. Arsenal legend Thierry Henry recently hailed Hendo as an 'unbelievable player', but ex-Red Michael Owen has gone one further, and claimed that LFC's captain-elect is 'world-class'.

Speaking to the Daily Mail on Friday, Owen raved:

"Everybody's talking about Harry Kane [reported value: £50m], but in the last season he [Henderson] really has developed into a world-class player. I think he's going to be Liverpool and England's dominant midfield player for years to come"

Own is entitled to his opinion, but in my view, Henderson is nowhere near 'world-class', and it's damaging to label him as such as it just increases the already massive pressure on him to perform.

The only way to fairly judge 'world-class' ability is to apply - where possible - objective criteria. Subjective analysis is based on emotion, and biased, experiential interpretation, and is, therefore, of questionable merit.

The subjective formula is basically: "I see, therefore he is...World Class". Subjectively, any player can be anointed 'world class', but it has no meaning unless the label can be persuasively justified with objective facts.

As such, before Henderson can be considered 'World Class', he'll have to excel at all three levels of football:

* DOMESTIC: National Leagues.

* EUROPEAN: Elite European Competitions (Champions League, or equivalent)

* WORLD: International Tournaments (Qualifying and finals)

In my view, a player cannot be considered World Class unless and until he:

* Excels - i.e. has a specific, measurable impact (SMI) - at all three levels of football.

* Dominates games and pushes his team to relative success at all three levels.

With regards to relative success, the following are vital:

* The team's relative strength in comparison to other teams in the league/group.

* The team's Optimum Achievement Level (OAL)

* Causation: The player's causal contribution to his team's OAL.

Key questions

* What is the OAL of this team in a given competition? In other words, considering the overall quality of players available, what is the absolute best this team can realistically expect to achieve?

* To what extend did the player in question help the team to meet its OAL?

* But for the player under consideration, would the team still have achieved its OAL?


Issues to Consider

* SMI at all three levels is required.

* A variety of objective, position-specific statistical criteria should be used when assessing the SMI of players. For example, for attacking players: Goals; assists; conversion rate; key passes; shot-assists; passing accuracy etc. For defenders: goals conceded; blocks; aerial duels won; tackle success rate etc.

* A player's individual SMI is all important. How far did the player contribute to the team achieving its OAL? If you remove the player's SMI from the equation, would the team still achieve its OAL? If so, then that player is probably not world class. Truly world class players are absolutely integral to their team's success, to the extent that, without that player, the team would not achieve its OAL.

In Henderson's case, he's clearly had the requisite impact for LFC at domestic level, but if he's to achieve world-class status he'll need to excel for Liverpool in European competition, and dominate for England at international level.

Henderson may be capable of helping Liverpool achieve its OAL in Europe, but he failed to influence the team in Europe last season, and it remains to be seen whether he can consistently reproduce his domestic form on the international stage.

Labelling developing players 'world-class' (and Hendo IS still developing) is arguably irresponsible.



World-Class: A New Definition (Full Article)

Author: Jaimie K



129 comments:

  1. Whatever Henderson is, it is unbelievable to me that we would pay 32 million for Benteke before we sign another central, preferably a defensive, midfielder. We lost Gerrard, Lucas is always injured, so is Allen.

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  2. I fully agree that a top DM is required. We have nobody else but Lucas who can do a proper job there. Emre Can I guess can be given a shot at it but only if we have a defensive coach to make him understand the position in it's entirety.


    Henderson is a very good player but to call him world class I think is taking it a step to far? Silva, Vidal, Yaya, Hazard etc are world class players. Henderson is one of those players you do need in your team though. Has a great engine, will chip in with goals and will give it his all more than most.

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  3. you do fill these blogs with rubbish

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  4. Not world class, but has the potential to be in that group of players just below that standard of messi Suarez, Ronaldo, bale, Neymar and hazard.

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  5. Breaking news - we are signing a most promising midfielder from Arsenal - bring the total number of promising youngsters signed by Rodgers to 874 and counting

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  6. Can't see Henderson ever being world class. We don't seem to have any pace in CM. Can, Hendo, Milner,Allen & Lucas, none are quick.


    Villa were all over us in midfield in the semi, Delph had the pace to be everywhere.

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  7. I am beginning to think FSG are involved in a sophisticated money laundering scam.

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  8. I think this year will finally be the year where we get to truly see the player that Henderson is.


    When he was here under Kenny, he was consistently played out of position. And since BR took over, he's consistently played alongside an aging Gerrard.


    Without Gerrard here, and playing in his preferred central role, Henderson will show his true colors. Either he's going to excel and truly become a top midfielder in the Prem.

    Or he's going to show that he's not the man to carry this team to the next level.


    It will be quite an interesting season for him individually.

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  9. Henderson is a world class. You guys tell me how many central midfielders in Europe scored and assisted more than Henderson last season. He played every wing on the pitch. CM, LWB, RWB even DM and he was still productive. I bet Silva will fail woefully if he played any other position aside from no. 10.

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  10. I am terrified that Can is going to be placed in that position when he could do so much more for us in a more advanced role.


    Lucas can fill the role when healthy. But his health has to be a concern.


    At least bring in someone who can hold down the fort if Lucas needs to miss a game here or there.

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  11. Being competent at multiple positions doesn't make one a world class player.


    It just makes him a player who is competent at multiple positions.

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  12. When played in the centre he can be world class. He used to be dominated by Gerrard therefore play cautiously.

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  13. I think it is fair to say that a DM will not be signed.

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  14. Agreed on Can. And a DM should play first and have Lucas as a Back-up. Not the other way around.

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  15. Why not Fernando Reges as part of the Sterling deal

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  16. Oh why don't you support someone else you miserable c#*#?!

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  17. i keep seeing hazard pop out as world class but every time i watch Belgium play he is non-existent. De Bruyne is the one that stands out to me. Hazard seems to lack impact at the national stage but i don't often watch Belgium so maybe i just seem to catch his bad games.

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  18. Henderson has never shown that he has anything special about him so i don't know what make you think he can reach this kind of class...

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  19. I do. I live in Belgium. You're right.

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  20. Liverpool dont have the financial ability to afford the transfee fee or the wages of world class players. So BR is trying to build a team that is world class collectively instead of individually. Yes maybe Hendo is not a world class player,but BR wants hard working and industrious players with good technical abilities for his team. And Hendo fits the bill perfectly

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  21. he has great passing range, very smart, great engine. he really showed that last year and has showed growth every year, world-class is very achievable for Henderson

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  22. Chris Rossington6:58 pm, July 05, 2015

    I think I'm more inclined to agree with a professional footballer over an Internet troll

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  23. what does that have to do with Rodgers the fact that we sign player for the academy ?

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  24. USA vs. Belgium last summer did he even play? De Bruyne was pure fire and i wish we could or at least would try and sign him. blew my mind that Chelsea let him go.

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  25. I think Hazard is more of a danger

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  26. he makes impacts at every position and that is special, maybe not world class but the potential is there

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  27. Pogba is 3 years older than Henderson nad has shown much more than him already.

    Henderson has not help our team achieve anything and have not been a constant performer for England, don't know how he's supposed to have shown that he can be World class, for me he's just shown that he can be a decent player nothing else.

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  28. That is world class. Why is Pogba called world class or Vidal? None of them performed near Henderson last season? Don't be clouded by the early criticisms he had had earlier in his career. He is in the same level or even better than those you call world class.

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  29. did you respond to the wrong person?
    i think he can make it there i wouldn't put him there quite yet though

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  30. Ridiculous hyperbole. Henderson isn't anywhere near close to being world class. Although I typically think it's silly to try and categorize players, Henderson is some way short of that top, elite bracket of player. He needs to perform well for the next season or two before he even gets considered to be in the second tier bracket. Right now he is proven premier league quality who has shown signs of developing into a top player. Honestly, people get so carried away.

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  31. if he's so good how come Barca are trying to take Pogba to Barca and not Henderson ?
    Pogba was the standout player for Juve in the CL final and Vidal just won the Copa America, i'm sorry i like henderson too but there's a different class between these players...

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  32. None of them performed near Henderson last season?


    They were on the Serie A champions and made the CL final.


    And there's a reason why Pogba is potentially going to Barca next summer for almost 100m.


    I appreciate what Henderson has done here, but let's not get out of hand. He's been a very good player for us. But he's not in the "World Class" category (at least not yet)

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  33. some players have different growth patterns, Pogba is a stud but Hendersons ability to grow and his adaptability is something rare and has tons of room for growth and he is finally getting rated and Gerrard leaving is a great thing for him. He performed great when Gerrard didn't play and i really think CL helped him grow and learn even more.

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  34. What us class if not what stats says? Don't forget Barcelona wanted Henderson last summer too

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  35. I wouldn't say that yet.


    But I think the focus right now is on a striker (as it really should be).


    Let's see how the summer shapes up. We have almost two months left in the window.

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  36. Chris Rossington7:22 pm, July 05, 2015

    Was the last comment not ok, personally believe a comment from an ex footballer holds more weight than non professional footballers and yes someone who has done well last 2 seasons is better than one who has played well for one season

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  37. he's been awful in the champion's league (it just showed that his current level his far to low to be competiting in the CL) and he didn't help us get top 4.
    I like him but he has not even been our best player last season, unless he spectacularly grow the coming couple year there's no chance he'll be world-class imo, just the fact that we are currently talking about that prove it, if he had the ability there would be no discussion.

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  38. hhhmm no they didn't... they only wanted Rakitic in midfield and they got him, actually him and Henderson are the same type of player and you see the difference between them

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  39. It's pity some guys see winning trophies as being world class. Bring Pogba or Vidal into liverpool's last season's team and expect them to win the epl or get to champions League final. Or because Vermeleen or Martin Montoya won champions League has made them world class? Don't be carried away by the price that is put on the head of a player.

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  40. Google here pal. http://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/562246/Jordan-Henderson-Barcelona-move

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  41. I think he's an A for effort, B for achievement sort of player - he'll always be below that bracket of players that possess the really special natural ability that separates them from the rest. There's certainly nothing to be ashamed of in working your guts out to be as good as you can be - I believe Hendo will do that, and he has plenty of qualities to suggest that he could be a real star player at Liverpool in the years to come.

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  42. Vermalean didn't win the champion's league, due to his lack of implications in the competition he has been taken his medal back, and nobody has every said that winning a medal make you world-class, performing constantly at that kind of level does

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  43. Where in Belgium Eric? I worked in Liege for 6 months

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  44. you seem to be the only one doubting it

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  45. there was a link last summer but i'll be honest i never thought it was true

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  46. Indeed. The missus has described *me* as "just about competent" in a few different positions but I'm not sure she meant to imply that I'm World Class.

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  47. Ash or Henderson?

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  48. Bobby Adekanye,
    looks a far better player than Sterling was at his age.
    Allan,
    looks like a real Brazilian wonderkid.
    And Brooks
    from USA we have been trying to get for two years.
    Add to them Joe Gomez,
    very welcome additions IMO.

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  49. He's phisically good , but , what about his technical ability ? , in football , u have to control the midfield technically , henderson is too limited to be considered as a first choice . we need to bring in the player like Verrati or pjanic , players who have dominance and charisma with the ball .

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  50. Brilliant game by the way, my favourite game of the whole tournament. USA made that game - they just kept going and going, even when they were all clearly dead on their feet.

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  51. it defiantly embodied what we believe the American to be the American "spirit" of the never die, never quit attitude. it showed the potential we have but how far behind we still are too. it was a great game.


    my favorite game was the Holland vs. Spain, but I was there in person. I grew up admiring the the dutch, Dennis Bergkamp my all time favorite. I regret not seeing USA, I live in Denver, Colorado so I was at the blizzard game against Costa Rica. So much fun. I heard we had amazing support throughout brazil and I had a couple friends follow the team around. maybe next world cup.

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  52. Hendo has a world class attitude and a world class engine but that's about the only things about him that are world class. He is however a very good player and he has significantly improved every season he has been with us which is a testament to his hard work and dedication

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  53. Off course Henderson is world class - he represents England team, that it self covers for 50% weight. There are a separate class in EPL, if you are English - unfortunately, our share of English "world class" is a bit too much - Johnson (X), Lallana, Henderson, Sterling, Lambert .......


    He is going to be LFC Captain, good luck to him; but he won't have made Spanish, German or French reserve Team.

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  54. Owen didn't actually say Henderson was better than Kane, just that people didn't talk about Henderson even though he had a very good season.

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  55. He has only one attribute - he is a good runner.


    Hardly any ball skill, doesn't pass well (I am surprised that you rate his passing) & loses too many balls.

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  56. i'm sorry i actually watch the games, cause his passing is actually very good

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  57. pretty sure no one ever said lambert is world-class

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  58. you do realize he had a 82% success rate right? created over 66 chances? just last year

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  59. Hazard did score more goals than Hendo (14 to Hendo's 6) but they got the same amount of assists and last season Hendo played in a weaker team and Hazard plays as forward (winger/am) to Hendo's CM/DM/RWB.
    On top of that Hendo's defensive stats are far better than Hazard's averaging about 3-4 defensive actions per game.
    Toure got 10 goals and 1 assist in the PL last season, (Hendo got 6 and 9) and had about 2 defensive actions per game
    Silva got 12 goals 7 assists and averaged 2.5 defensive actions per game
    That's not to say Hendo is world class, but to point out that he didn't do as badly as people think.
    Also Hazard for me isn't world class, he's very close but he's not quite there.

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  60. Is Messi world class, he had another blinder last night, always seems to really perform on the big stage.

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  61. Sorry but that is just not accurate at all, not one bit of it.

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  62. You ought to be kidding me.

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  63. just to put this in context Coutinho had an 80% completion rate and only 58 chances created in 35 games. Which was an average of 1.66 chances created a game.


    henderson achieved his stats in 38 which is an average of 1.74

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  64. Agree with all, bar where his preferred role is - central or attacking?
    I think he had at least one game last season that I can remember, where he was played as AM and I thought he really started to shine, but as quick as it started he was soon back in central midfield where I feel he's often constrained to a mix of defensive and offensive duties, which doesn't necessarily allow him to be as good as he can be.
    Don't disagree though re next season and think this is his best opportunity to date, to really cement his place/captaincy.

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  65. Hope Hendo doesn't get one of those SMI's, after a visit to the clinic he could be out of action for weeks.

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  66. I think with SG gone. Hendo and the other midfielder will finally come out of there shell,my fear is that milner will hold him back as I can see rogers playing Miller DM a position he just isn't equipped for and Henri will have to cover

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  67. 'he won't have made Spanish, German or French reserve Team'

    Yeah because Cabaye, Christoph Kramer and Nolito are so fAkkin intimidating.

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  68. If 'C' for confidence enters the equation, I have a future imagining of Hendo the Marquee, banging in the sort of goals that defy logic and on a regular basis too.
    Stevie-esque free kicks, 20/30yd match winners, all 'improved by HENDO' - I think Hendo may grow to be our man that can. World Class in the making... :}

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  69. It's the next big thing in Europe apparently just look at Mamic brothers doing it for Dinamo Zagreb ;)

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  70. Cmon Case we're holding out for a hero here, and Hendo fits the bill of box-to-box pressure marauder ;)

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  71. No we would not pay £32m for Benteke and that has been largely documented. Or else he'd already be a Liverpool player right now.

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  72. You said Cabaya & Kramer along with Henderson?


    Boy, English players are super hyped, over paid,over priced & over rated. Probably, try to find a reason why out side UK, hardly any English player is called.

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  73. Don't worry Stipe, Hendo is our hero in waiting and don't think I'm not feeling it, see below/above.
    Hendo is our man that can ;)

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  74. Can and Hendo can do!

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  75. Dude, Henderson is streets ahead of them!

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  76. I do watch a bit football from across Europe - the stats you are mentioning are meaningless. What does 82% means if you are placing most of those squire or back? The way they put "chance creation" has nothing to do with the effectiveness - don't try to sell that his chance creation was better than Coutinho. ZERO defensive error comes when you really try to defend & tackle, not run like headless chicken.


    Look, I don't want to put harsh words for future LFC Captain - but "World Class" has a different meaning. The position Hendo plays, go & see Pogba, Isco or Kroos to understand what "World Class" is.

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  77. Isco is not world-class by ay means, and Kroos is looking a lot less world class-ish since Modric got sidelined and I think that Modric and Kroos when playing together produce world classness, but when playing without their significant other tend to take it down a notch. Pogba is a different story though...

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  78. Is Owen Deluded? Almost certainly, but not sure that's even the right question to be honest.

    I mean, why is Gangnam style such a catchy little number when you've had a few beers, a much more pressing concern I feel.

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  79. Liverpool wouldn't have met the heights(OAL?) they did in the 'Suarez' season had there not been for Henderson, as seen from the matches he didn't play.
    And the best formula I have ever heard to calculate is someone a world class is asking how many better players are there in his position at the moment. Quite simple...

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  80. it was better than coutinho. proven and backed up by actual stats. just cause you like coutinho you dismiss that Henderson contributed more offensively. defensively he is outstanding that "headless chicken" presses the opposition all the time and is very effective at clearances, interceptions and tackles. you have no factual base whatsoever to outlandish claims.


    62% of his passes are forward, so again your wrong.
    chances created includes 9 assists tied for 3rd most in EPL, it also includes passes that allowed a player to take a chance at goal.

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  81. world class-ish and world classness? I see you're trying to invent the first 'world class' dictionary.

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  82. I am surprised if you really watch football.

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  83. colonel cocknocker10:53 pm, July 05, 2015

    As far as i like to believe in my own opinion, I think the centre of midfield is all about warrior fiends smashing around and winning the ball back. If they can make the odd nice long ball all well and good but by and large i want them to receive the ball, move it on and run into space to receive it again.
    But mainly i want to see them hunting the ball down like a demented velociraptor. Hendo gives you a queech (sorry -Kuyt)-like engine and basically fulfills all my criteria...except the monster-factor. He doesn't tend to smash in. I'm talking like your wanyama's or your carvalho's.
    We need at least one of that ilk.
    Or alternatively someone could politely inform Hendo that THAT'S OUR BALL AND EVERY SECOND IT'S OUT OF OUR POSSESSION IS A CRIME AGAINST NATURE. Then maybe he'd smash people up a bit more than he currently does.
    Otherwise i really like him.

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  84. I read that through twice and stuff was yes, stuff was no, but the name was indisputable :)

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  85. colonel cocknocker11:11 pm, July 05, 2015

    why do i call myself the cocknocker? well there's a funny story about that.......


    (type cocknocker jay and silent bob into youtube if I'm confusing you.....but thanks for reading my ramblings twice anyway, that was probably painful but i admire your dedication! ;)

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  86. What I can read against my post, I read something similar last year, when I wrote that by DEC, Rogers 'll try to off load Lallana......

    I watch a bit of Spanish, German, Italian & French football as well. The amount of hype here I see for Hendo, had it been remotely close to actual, he would have charged 170K/week by now & MCity would have been at our tail with 60mn.........

    Leave it, reality bites....

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  87. It said I had to put passwords in to watch knock cocking...
    I did! I typed, I watched - not seen that one but it seems a good film!

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  88. Best to remain comfortably numb.

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  89. Brilliant post but you're just in a mood cos it's Monday tomorrow... :)

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  90. She told me you'd worked hard on improving your technique but lacked any real natural talent... ;-)

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  91. This is going to end with great character, .a good dynamic and if you're lucky, group structure.

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  92. It must bite for you cause I have proven you completely wrong.

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  93. Agreed! Pogba was invisible for most of the Champions league final and Vidal was more than fortunate not go have been sent off.

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  94. Its also been documented we are days away from signing him

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  95. In a small town in Limburg called Maaseik. I know Liege well though, I used to work in Maastricht. Did you get to visit any Standard games? If there is on set of crazy football supporters in Europe...

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  96. Well at the world cup he was partcularly disappointing. As was Lukaku. I think a lot of the players gave in under pressure. Its been a while since Belgium had a team worth mentioning. I do think Hazard is better at club level though. Much like Gerrard by the way

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  97. I went to Maastricht for the day, just over the border, don't remember much of it though, it was about 15+ years ago. Still remember Liege well though, drove by Standard's ground a few times on match day but never went to a match. Anderlecht were doing quite well in Europe back then (2000/2001)

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  98. Yeah I'm thinking of starting my own "outstanding" blog ... Ops Jaimie hope u didnt see this ;)

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  99. oh com'on ...don't compare Hazard to Henderson..
    It's like comparing a jaguar to a cat !

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  100. Don't debate with this deluded bunch mate !
    When fans are satisfied in calling an average player like Henderson to be a world class. Obviously board won't take signings seriously and club will as usual linger in mid table, celebrating the glory of yesteryears!

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  101. add to that:
    - lack dribbling skills (almost nil)
    - free kicks are very average
    - hardly makes any clever moves (barring 1-2 last season- something that many folks copied from Suarez)
    - can't bang enough goals(time and again I have seen him shooting way off the target , wasting sitters )
    - when going gets tough, he becomes invisible like other mediocre folks around him
    - have played poorly against top 4 teams
    - Was poor in Europa league and cup games
    - there is a good tip to differentiate a class act from the bunch of a mediocre : when your big guns fire 2-3 goals , it's always easy to score against the dejected and demotivated oppositions: I have also seen - likes of Allen , defenders like Moreno, Flanagan score in similar situations.
    Class acts, world beaters scores when you win tough draws 1-0. That's how one can separate world class Stevie and Suarez from the rest !
    I am afraid if anyone can quote one instance when this lad did something extraordinary and won us a tough tie.None


    He is an average player with good work rate but not one who is above ordinary.
    Passing accurately , running and making average number of tackles are basic attributes of a Central midfielders-something that doesn't make him a world beater.
    I hope these adjectives are spared some respect.


    PS: Henderson has a good stamina and he can pass more often than not. So, he should be used in rotation with Can(or Kovacic , if we sign him) when the game is safe and there is a need of fresh legs

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  102. If Can is to be tried there, we have Lucas as a back-up. is it too soon to say give Chirivella some games in that position ? We'll never know if players can break through if they're never given a chance.

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  103. Have we signed Allan ?

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  104. If you think that with your "Stats" you proved someone not even regular for a pathetically mediocre English team "World Class" - I don't have much to argue.

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  105. I didn't start it that was Logan, regardless though stats and performances don't lie. Hendo had the stats and the performances last season, so it's time people get off his back.

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  106. I've only ever been to one Standard game, against us. But I ended up in their end because I obviously couldn't get any tickets from the LFC ticket office....their fans are mental. They can rival anything they can dish up in Turkey or South America. And if people though we have impatient fans, Rodgers wouldn't have lasted two months of last season over there.

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  107. Remember the quality of Ayres' negotiation skills. Clubs just hold out until he caves. We'll pay it. Decent player for £20m but £32m is way over the top for someone who doesn't quite fit our system.

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  108. World class and dominant are ridiculous suggestions and I would go further than Jaimie and even suggest that Henderson is massively over-rated. I would not let him near a corner, penalty or free kick and he is not even fit enough to wipe the ar5e of a peak Gerrard. Would not get a starting role in any other top 4 team. In fact not sure apart Coutinho who would be a regular feature in any other top 4 team. Am assuming Sterling is a goner so excluding him. Maybe Firmino would get a bit of game time and perhaps a fully fit Sturridge. I think we are lacking quality across the board so really is down to the manager to make the sum greater than the parts which is not impossible but genuinely think we are playing for 5th - 7th again and the 2nd place of 2013/14 was a 1-off due to the unbelievable exploits of the SAS. Be interested to hear if anyone else thinks we have say 4-5 of our first team who would be in the first 11 of any other top team?

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  109. well said kev.....IMO henderson..isn't world class in any sense of the word....the hype surrounding these players is outstanding...

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  110. please tell them .....i don't know how some people rate players....his 82% passes that were completed ...were always killing the attack..whereas our attackers will be waiting to see a through ball from him he would be busy playing don't blame me football...

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  111. true word...I repeat the hype is meaningless...if Hendo will be valued after the hype @ 60million ...the Messi will be 1billion....lol

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  112. lol...waiting for the 1000 range before the sack?

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  113. true word...i would like to see Bobby Adekanye and the rest give jordan ibe a run for his money...

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  114. just as Madrid wanted Sterling??

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  115. And who isn't really that good to begin with. Let's not forget about that.

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  116. Gangnam Style is a catchy even without a few beers :-)

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  117. Sakho, and maaaaaaybe Lucas.

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  118. I never said he is world class, I said he has the POTENTIAL to be world class.

    I love how you put stats in quotes like it makes them false

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  119. Sound more like human trafficking.

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  120. It's like Johnny Depp. He plays all manner or crazy character, but they're all shite.

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  121. Do you struggle to read?

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  122. Yeah Hazard is s stud at chelsea. He could be a late bloomer in country like Messi and 90% of that Argentina squad. But through all the bad they have matured the next 8 to 12 years can be really exciting for Belgium.

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  123. you gotta be kidding - Sakho and Lucas! Seriously?

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