Hard work paying off for Henderson
Published 26/02/2014 | 15:22
Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson's high-tempo, all-action game may have impressed many and put him on the verge of a trip to the World Cup with England but his club coaches have a problem getting him to slow down.
The 23-year-old, the Reds' match-winner in Sunday's thrilling 4-3 victory at home to Swansea, has taken his performances up a level this season and he is now seen as a key component in Brendan Rodgers' game-plan.
Further England recognition is likely to come - national team boss Roy Hodgson announces his squad for next week's friendly against Denmark on Thursday - and Henderson playing his way into the World Cup party represents a significant turnaround.
Rodgers was prepared to allow the midfielder to leave when he took over at Anfield in the summer of 2012, but Henderson was determined to be a success at the club and pledged to work hard to regain his place.
That has paid off but the player has revealed that occasionally he needs protecting from his own work ethic.
"Sometimes I need people to tell me to rest," he said.
"After training sometimes I like to do a little bit extra. A few of us do a bit of shooting or whatever it might be but sometimes you need to give your legs a rest and prepare for the game in the best way that you can.
"We have the right people at the club to tell you when you can and when you can't do the extra bit."
The additional hours spent out on the field at the club's Melwood training ground are paying dividends with Henderson on track to better his six goals - his best return for a campaign - of last season with a tally of four so far.
His winner against Swansea, his second in the game, could yet prove to be his most important as it allowed fourth-placed Liverpool to open up a six-point cushion over nearest rivals Tottenham in the race to regain Champions League football.
It also kept Liverpool within four points of Premier League leaders Chelsea and Henderson insists they will keep pushing for the best possible outcome.
"There is a lot of confidence in the group but there always has been throughout the season," he told liverpoolfc.com.
"We have to keep that going and we are working well together as a team and keep believing we can finish as high as we can."
Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet believes the spirit within the squad means Liverpool will never accept a losing position during a game.
"It's not only on the pitch, it's also on the training ground - we go until the end and everybody works really hard," he said.
"Even in small training games we want to win every single game - that's the spirit of the squad.
"We know that we'll work for the full 90 minutes, until the last minute of the game.
"There have been a few occasions now where we have got a result in the end out of positions where we weren't getting a result.
"Hopefully we can keep that going until the last game of the season."