Steven Gerrard may have retired from football last week, but his legacy at Liverpool lives on.
After making more than 700 appearances for the club, winning nine trophies, it’s no wonder some people call him ‘Mr. Liverpool’.
But Gerrard was loved around the club for more than his playing ability. The former captain was an instrumental figure around Anfield, helping new signings and youngsters settle into their environment.
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One player he helped massively was Jordan Henderson.
Henderson was expected to be the long-term replacement for Gerrard at Liverpool and inherited his captain’s armband when he left for LA Galaxy.
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But Gerrard did his very best to help a 20-year-old Henderson feel welcome at Liverpool when he arrived for £20 million from Sunderland back in 2011.
Henderson on Gerrard's impact
“I still remember the first time I met him as a team-mate, after I signed,” said Henderson in his pre-match programme notes ahead of their EFL Cup clash with Leeds.
“Obviously I was nervous as anything because he was Steven Gerrard and I was this young kid from Sunderland who’d grown up seeing him as the best player in England and possibly Europe playing in my position.
“I have no idea if I managed to hide those nerves or not, but what I do remember is how amazing he was at welcoming me and making me feel at home and part of this club.
“But that was Stevie, someone who had this incredible presence and aura but at the same time able to make you feel at ease and comfortable around him.
“I was so lucky to have him here as captain when I joined and he probably has no idea what a positive impact he had in helping me to settle in. I know loads of other players say exactly the same thing.”
Surprise at Gerrard's retirement
When Gerrard did announce he was hanging up his boots last week, a few people were surprised. The 36-year-old is still capable of playing at the highest level and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was just one of those that expressed their surprise.
He said: "For me, he was a huge player. It was a bit surprising because I thought he had two or three more years left in him.
"I thought he would play until 40. He was a fantastic player who had the qualities that every midfielder dreams of.”
And Henderson has also admitted that he was ‘shocked’ by the news, but he soon realised how lucky he had been to share a changing room with him.
“Last week, when the news broke that Steven Gerrard was to end his playing career, like everyone else connected to Liverpool and football in general, there were loads of different emotions going around in my head," he added.
“At first it was shock; even though it shouldn’t have come as a surprise, it still rocked me on my heels when I saw it break and read the words ‘Steven Gerrard retires’.
“But that soon gave way to gratitude. I’m so incredibly lucky to have played with him, learnt from him and most importantly got to know him as a person.
“I think that’s the part of this where I feel most fortunate. To have had the opportunity to get to know him and see how he conducts himself on and off the pitch has been priceless for me.”
While no-one can expect Henderson to have the sort of impact Gerrard had at Liverpool, there is hope he can achieve great things at Anfield - especially if Gerrard has given him a few words of advice.
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