Former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique has showered captain Jordan Henderson with some high praise following the versatile role he has played this season.
The 30-year-old has been made to play as a centre-back this season on the back of the Reds’ catastrophic defensive injury crisis.
All of their options at the beginning of the 2020/21 campaign, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, have picked up season-ending injuries all at once (Premier Injuries). This led to manager Jurgen Klopp signing Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak on Deadline Day.
Henderson has managed to make a total of six tackles and 10 interceptions during the six games he has featured at the back so far (Whoscored). Because of this, Enrique lauded the England international, stating that he could be like one of his highly-rated teammates.
“He’s the new [Virgil] Van Dijk in the team,” he told the Daily Mail. “I saw [James] Milner say the other day, he’s doing so well as a centre-back he needs to be careful otherwise he’ll stay.
“You can play him anywhere on the pitch, same with Milly, and you know they are going to perform because they are leaders.
“People started criticising Hendo early on which is normal when you move to a big team. He arrived when he was 21 and I always say I understand how he was feeling because it happened to me on a lesser scale but when I arrived at Newcastle I was 21 as well and it was so difficult to start in the Premier League.
Enrique discussed the weight on Henderson’s shoulders, stepping into the shoes the Liverpool’s legendary figure Steven Gerrard who left to join MLS side LA Galaxy in 2015.
“He arrived at a big team and everyone straight away is saying “he’s going to be the new Stevie G” and it’s a lot of pressure. He put himself under a lot of pressure as well because he really wanted to perform. But since the first day, you could see he really wanted to work hard, not just as a footballer but as a man as well.
“I’m the happiest man in the world because he really deserves everything. He’s a great captain and a great guy. He’s an example for every single kid in the world.”
Transfer Tavern Verdict
Henderson was previously described as a “special” player by Jurgen Klopp back in January (cited by the Daily Mail), which encapsulates the points that Enrique made here.
The Englishman has blossomed into an inspirational player over the years and was heavily scrutinised before Klopp started seeing success as the Reds’ boss.
After winning both the Champions League and the Premier League, Henderson will go down as a legend at Anfield. Not even Gerrard manage to achieve both of those honours.
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