Sunday 25 September 2016

Henderson backs Rodgers for Reds

Published 05/06/2015 | 14:16

England midfielder Jordan Henderson, pictured, has backed his Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers
England midfielder Jordan Henderson, pictured, has backed his Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

Jordan Henderson has backed Brendan Rodgers to lead Liverpool back up the table following their disappointing campaign.

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Two years ago, Liverpool came agonisingly close to lifting the Barclays Premier League, but last season was a huge let-down.

The Reds finished sixth in the table and exited both cup competitions at the semi-final stage.

Henderson admits that is not good enough for a club of Liverpool's stature, but he still thinks Rodgers should remain at the helm.

The Liverpool midfielder says the Northern Irishman played a big role in turning him into a Premier League regular following a difficult start to life at Anfield following his £20million move from Sunderland.

And he insists Rodgers is the right man to revive the club's fortunes next term.

"Of course I want him to stay" the Liverpool midfielder said.

"I have spoke highly of Brendan ever since he came to the club.

"He has been fantastic for me and for Liverpool."

Liverpool were given a boost on Thursday when they announced the signing of James Milner on a free transfer from Manchester City.

But with inspirational captain Steven Gerrard now gone and Raheem Sterling's contract dispute showing no sign of being resolved, big doubts still remain about the Reds' ability to bridge the 25-point gap that separates them from champions Chelsea.

"This (coming) season is a big season for everyone involved," Henderson added.

"We all know that. We want to be finishing high as possible in the league and winning trophies. We have a great group of lads with great potential but I think it's time now we started showing that potential in the Premier League and also in cups.

"Getting to semi-finals is great but we need to be getting to finals and winning trophies. That is what we will be looking to do next season."

Henderson, speaking at an England press conference at St George's Park earlier this week, delivered his words with force and conviction.

It is easy to see he does not like the idea of being part of the latest Liverpool team to flounder in its attempt to bring the glory days back to Anfield.

The 6-1 final day defeat at Stoke is a particular sore spot for the midfielder.

"It was awful. Just horrendous," he said.

"Everything that could go wrong did go wrong."

Liverpool fans heckled Sterling in the warm-up at the Britannia Stadium after his dispute with the club over a new contract escalated into all-out war.

Henderson has been doing all he can to try to persuade the 20-year-old to stay at Anfield.

"We speak in private and obviously everyone knows what I think - it's up to Raheem, but I hope he stays," Henderson said.

The blow of losing a man of Gerrard's experience has softened - to a small extent - by the arrival of Milner, who has 53 England caps.

Henderson said: "I am over the moon. It's a fantastic signing.

"Stevie is a massive loss for us with his experience and Milly (Milner) has got that experience. He has played at the highest level."

Gerrard's departure leaves the captain's armband free at Liverpool. Rodgers made Henderson vice-captain and Roy Hodgson has also recognised the Wearsider's leadership skills, making him the head of England's midfield unit meetings.

Gerrard has offered Henderson advice but the former Sunderland man says Rodgers is yet to make his mind up on the captaincy.

"He will think about it over the summer," Henderson said.

"Stevie has already said: 'Any advice you need, don't hesitate to pick up the phone', so I will do that if needed.

"For now I will concentrate on playing these next two games for England."

Next up for Henderson is a trip to Dublin on Sunday where he will come up against his old Sunderland boss Roy Keane, who is assistant to Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill.

''Roy was a huge part of me getting my chance as a footballer,'' Henderson said.

''He gave me my debut at Sunderland and had a huge impact. I can never really repay him for that."

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