Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has commented on how he loves playing under pressure for his side, despite feeling overwhelmed at times.
The 24-year-old joined Anfield in 2011 for £16 million from Sunderland, and regardless starting slowly on Merseyside, he has became a key member of the Liverpool squad.
Although Henderson has very much found his feet on Merseyside, he cannot help but admit that there is a lot of stress on the Liverpool players to put in match-winning performances.
"Liverpool is a huge club as everyone knows,” he told the official LFC magazine.
“Every single game, the stadiums are sold out. I’ve been on four summer tours to Asia, Australia, and United States. The interest is massive. It’s overwhelming really.
“The club has a worldwide reach which few clubs in the world have. You can walk down the street in a city anywhere in the world and there will be someone wearing a Liverpool shirt. All of that means there’s a big responsibility.
"Everyone is watching you. Nearly all of the Premier League matches are on TV so you aren’t just playing for the people inside the stadium but the people in their homes.
“Everyone has an opinion. Maybe at other clubs the focus isn’t there as much. If you have a bad game once in a while it gets lost and it’s forgotten quickly.
“At Liverpool the pressure is on every moment of every single game. You can’t hide. But I love all of that.
“You have to deal with the pressure in your own way. It’s what you work hard for, to be in the pressure environments like this.”
For the most part of this season, Henderson has been one of Liverpool's most consistent players, and put in a number of solid performances.
Now Steven Gerrard is playing a deeper role, the box-to-box job has been handed to the Wearside native, and he has took to the job superbly. He has became much stronger in the tackle and improved significantly when helping out his side on the attack and netted the winning goal in Liverpool's 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion
However, it is intelligence that has most impressed. The former Sunderland man has a much better awareness of his team-mates around him and we have saw him contributing with some cute through balls that cut the oppositions defence apart. His assist for Raheem Sterling's goal against Southampton was the best of them all, when hitting an eye of a needle pass to his fellow countryman.
When Henderson first moved to the Reds, he looked well off the pace and struggled to make a real impression, with fans seriously doubting the hefty fee for the then England U21 captain. He did the basics, not taking games by the scruff of the neck and justifying that he was going to be a top player.
Henderson was in such bad form that his first season in charge, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was prepared to let him go to Fulham, however that was rejected by the central midfielder as he believed in his ability to succeed at Anfield.
Now things are much different. Last season, Henderson developed into a regular in Rodgers' starting XI and aided his side to finish second in the Premier League and was handed the Liverpool vice-captaincy after the departure of Daniel Agger.
Henderson plays alongside Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard in the centre-of-midfield, who at his peak was arguably the best player in the world in the position.
Despite Gerrard being in his twilight years of his career now aged 34, Henderson has relished playing with the former England captain and has admitted the Whiston native is the reason behind is fast progression.
“Being around him has benefited me a lot," he continued.
“It’s been huge. Everyday I watch him. It’s his desire to improve. He’s been the best and most influential player here for such a long time but he still wants to get better. He doesn’t take anything for granted. He takes training really seriously and sets the tone for how things should be.
“Everyone else follows. He does a lot of things that people on the outside don’t always see. On the pitch he’s a great leader. You can see the goals, the passes and the tackles he makes; the way he inspires the team. But off the pitch he conducts himself brilliantly too.
“He’s a genuinely nice person and everybody in the squad knows they can go to him. The most important thing is he puts the team in front of everybody else including himself."
Henderson has been talked about to naturally succeed Gerrard to captain Liverpool once he decided to hang up his boots.
Judging on his recent performances, it looks the right move for the club. Henderson has lead the Liverpool midfield this season, really showing his passion for the club.Against West Bromwich Albion, we saw the apprentice confront Gerrard about not getting back, and that highlights he has no fears and is a bred leader.
For now, however, Henderson must continue on his own game and continue to grow as a player.
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