Is Jordan Henderson the Next Captain Fantastic?
All people who even remotely follow football know that Steven Gerrard is LA bound after this season.
I have read countless articles about who the ideal “replacement” for him could be. That is not a word that can be used to describe the person who follows him as the next leader of Liverpool.
You cannot simply replace a Steven Gerrard. Not only has he been the face of the team, but the face of the entire city for the past 16 years. Liverpool cannot simply go out and buy someone to fill the hole he is going to leave. The fans idolize him. He’s one of them: a Scouse.
In steps Jordan Henderson. He has without a doubt improved tremendously over the past year and a half. He has been at the heart of the turn around that the Reds have had this season. Liverpool have yet to lose a game when he leads the team out with the armband (9 wins and 2 draws). I am really beginning to believe that he is a worthy successor to the captaincy.
He is a worthy successor, not a Gerrard replacement. We, as fans, have to be careful to not try and compare him to Gerrard. It simply isn’t fair. He isn’t Gerrard, but he doesn’t need to be. Yes, he can try to emulate certain aspects of his game, or certain leadership tactics, but he needs to be his own type of leader.
These past two games, against Manchester City and Burnley, he has scored two absolutely world class goals. I have heard comparisons made between his half volley against Burnley, to Gerrard’s stunner against Olympiacos in 2004. Can a goal against the currently 19th place team in the league be talked about in the same regard as the goal that secured Liverpool’s place in the Champions League knockout stages in the final five minutes? Especially when that was a Champions League that Liverpool would go on to win. No, they aren’t even in the same stratosphere.
Almost every time Henderson hits a beautiful long pass, the commentators can’t help but say, “That was a Gerrard ball”. All this is doing is adding unnecessary pressure onto him. He has matured so much this season, and it is clear to see that he enjoys that leadership role. He appears to have the backing and respect of his teammates, which is absolutely crucial.
It might not be the smoothest transition, and I’m sure he’ll have his challenges (similar to the PK controversy with Balotelli), but I do believe that Jordan Henderson is the right man to captain the team next season, and for as long as he is able to. No, he isn’t a Scouse. He’s not a product of the youth academy. But he is a very passionate player that is able to lead by example, and is the best candidate for the job.
The argument can be made that Gerrard is the best midfielder in the Premier League era. His shoes are without a doubt going to be very big to fill.
No, Henderson is not Captain Fantastic, but I do believe that he can be a fantastic captain.