Jordan Henderson has been improving quietly for months; however, since Steven Gerrard’s injury, Henderson has come to the forefront of Liverpool’s midfield and controlled the games as the main man, making Gerrard’s absence a blessing in disguise for both the Reds and England - giving the skipper a Christmas rest whilst giving Henderson the midfield to command.
Henderson is starting to repay the faith Liverpool showed when they paid somewhere in the region of £16m for him. His man of the match display against Tottenham showed the transformation Henderson has undergone, and his assist for Suarez’s first goal sums him up perfectly.
Henderson showed great vision and never gave up; anticipating both the defenders mistake and Suarez’s run. He continued his fine form this week against Cardiff as he once again set up Suarez for his opening goal. The way Suarez ran straight over to Henderson after he scored, pointing at him as he celebrated shows quite how much he is starting to value and respect him as a footballer. The biggest credit Henderson can receive is the fact that Gerrard’s absence has not been noticed in both Liverpool’s performances and results.
Ross Barkley seems to be getting better and better. The way he surges forward with pace and power is drawing comparisons with Jack Wilshere, and Barkley is always in the thick of it, always looking for the ball.
It is an enticing prospect to think of Barkley, Wilshere, Gerrard and Henderson vying for the starting spots this summer, and on this kind of form it would be hard to leave Barkley out.
Questions had been asked of Barkley’s temperament as he is still a very young player in his first full Premier League season, but this was safely put to bed by the match winning free kick against Swansea this week at the death of the game, showing quite how he can handle the pressure.
What a way to cap off a fantastic few weeks for the youngster, beginning with his man of the match performance against Arsenal two weeks ago. Barkley is clearly a work in progress at only 20, but if he continues to perform in this fashion, it will be an exciting summer for the young man.
Midfield is looking a strong area for England, as Phil Jones is the final player to impress this week.
Jones has the versatility to play anywhere in either defence or in a deep midfield role, which may well help him this summer, as a versatile, utility player is always needed in World Cup squads.
This matched with the incredible stamina he possesses similar to Jordan Henderson will be a useful asset in the heat of Brazil. Although for the last few weeks he has been showing his worth in midfield with his simple but effective passing and his hard working defensive duties alongside Cleverley, it is clear Jones is best suited to central defence, and he may well be solution to the central defensive problem England have at the moment.
The industrious player was everywhere over the park on Saturday, and Manchester United look a much safer and reassured team when he is playing, which is course a vital attribute for any defensive player to have.
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