Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has moved to guard against fans assuming he will be made the Reds’ next captain when Steven Gerrard departs for the MLS in the summer.
Speaking frankly on his chances of becoming skipper at Anfield in the wake of Gerrard’s move to the States, the England international argued that there are plenty of respectable candidates who could rival him for the honour, despite the fact that he is vice-captain now.
Henderson on captaincy
Since his resurgence under Brendan Rodgers Henderson has been continually touted as the perfect fit with regards to replacing Gerrard in the heart of Liverpool’s midfield, but the man himself, as relayed by the Liverpool Echo, wouldn’t be surprised to see someone else handed the coveted armband.
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“Next season we’ll see what happens because it might not be me succeeding Stevie, it might be someone else" - Henderson.
“There are a lot of strong leaders in the dressing room. There are a lot of big characters in the team - down to earth humble people.
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“Mama (Sakho), Emre (Can) and Skerts (Martin Skrtel) have developed a strong collective understanding. You can see their passion, they’re desperate to win, they give everything.
“Studge (Daniel Sturridge) is a big character. Lucas (Leiva) is too. I can only do the current job the best I can.”
Choosing the right man
Above all else Rodgers will be scrutinised when he makes his choice as to who will effectively attempt to fill Gerrard’s boots on the pitch. The designated successor must not only be an exceptional talent but also command the respect of both fans and teammates, narrowing it down to a select few.
It’s fair to say Henderson knows who best might replace Gerrard better than most, and so his claims that Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho and Emre Can are well-equipped to be leaders in their own right can’t be altogether passed off as nonsense. Yet from a neutral perspective none of the three appear to fit the role as well as he does, with only Can proving himself to be a consistent performer since the start of the season.
The candidates assessed
Skrtel has the necessary miles on the clock and a good rapport with the fans, but on more than one occasion he’s been criticised for lapses in concentration, and he isn’t half as charismatic as Gerrard is. Meanwhile Sakho cuts a hit-and-miss figure, and for a player looking to emulate the departing skipper he just doesn’t really fit the bill.
To Can’s credit he’s got Liverpool fans chanting his name already, having been on Merseyside less than a year, but there is the worry his success is just a flash in the pan, and Henderson has the fact that he’s been mentored by Gerrard on his side.
Despite what he says, Henderson is the natural successor to Gerrard and Rodgers should certainly see him as such with the summer window looming large. An ideal scenario would have him pen a lengthy new extension prior to being handed captaincy, and then perhaps Liverpool’s future post-their talismanic midfielder would seem a little more secure.
Liverpool fans, should Henderson be made captain? Let us know in the comments box below...