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Jordan Henderson continues to prove his value for club and country

Whenever you're the club captain of an established European club such as Liverpool, you are always going to be on the spotlight. From the media, from fans and even from the opposition.

It's a challenge no doubt as you'll constantly be under pressure to represent the club at the highest footballing levels and be the model image your teammates would look to.

For Jordan Henderson, the challenge seems to be magnified for him ever since he was given the captain's armband after long serving skipper Steven Gerrard left the club in 2015 and it has definitely remained a challenge for the former Sunderland man even today.

Jordan Henderson has managed to split opinion amongst Liverpool supporters. — by Liverpool FC
Jordan Henderson has managed to split opinion amongst Liverpool supporters. — by Liverpool FC

Being fair to Henderson, anyone would struggle to fill in the almighty big shoes left by a player of Gerrard's stature. He was a once in a lifetime talent who brought the club countless memories and stayed even in its darkest moments.

To his credit Henderson has done a superb job since being named Liverpool skipper. He has provided leadership, energy and reliability even though he gets a lot of stick from the more critical of Liverpool supporters.

This season has undoubtedly proved to be his finest under Jürgen Klopp. Being a critical piece in the Reds' run to the Champions league final. Although Liverpool ultimately fell short this cemented his value in the club as he shone against the best in the world against his position such as Kevin De Bruyne, Kevin Strootman, Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos.

The Liverpool skipper's club form ultimately translated to his country as he has been one of England's best players throughout the 2018 World Cup. Fine displays for the Three Lions in the group stages coupled with big performances in the round of 16 and quarterfinals finally put Henderson in the national spotlight and boy were former doubters proven wrong.

His relentless desire to win back possession for his country coupled with his calmness on the ball helped England dictate the flow in midfield. This was exemplified in their 2-0 win over Sweden in which Henderson's relentless energy and pressing constantly led to England winning possession and nullifying and potential threat from the Swedes.

Henderson's desire was eventually rewarded as England's second goal ultimately came from his winning the ball back deep in Sweden's half.

An unfortunate knock on Henderson's hamstring could prove costly for the Three Lions in their semi-final clash with Croatia. The very fact that England supporters fear Henderson missing out speaks volumes of his increased value for the national team.

For someone routinely criticized for “only passing backwards and sideways” Henderson offers a footballing side much more than goals and assists can measure. Thankfully, majority of Liverpool supporters and even non-Liverpool supporters alike have been made aware of this.

Another big season is on the cards for Henderson next year, but he still has a World Cup to win. As someone who has backed him as club captain all the way, it brings a smile to my face that people are finally giving him the respect he so rightfully deserves.

This article was originally published on @mindofcarl