Jordan Henderson | Success or failure?

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Football News

Jordan Henderson has failed to make the expected impact of a £20million player at Liverpool following his summer move from Sunderland.

The 21-year-old midfielder arrived at Anfield with a big reputation as one of England's brightest young stars, but it's fair to say he has largely underwhelmed with a series of under-par performances this season.

Despite his critics, Henderson is a confident individual and insists he is not concerned by the lack of progress in his development.

"I don't really worry what other people think, they're entitled to their opinion," he said. "I'm focused on what I want to achieve.

"I want to get back in the senior [England] squad as soon as I can, but for now I make sure I play well for the under-21s and for Liverpool every week.

"Of course there's a lot of room for improvement, but I am working on it every day in training and I am focused on what I need to do.

"I know what I need to do and I am going to do ­everything I can to get where I want to be."

Henderson captained the England U21s in last night's 4-0 victory over Belgium in their Euro 2013 qualifier, turning in the sort of performance that has garnered him the reputation that encouraged Kenny Dalglish to pay big money to bring him to Merseyside last summer.

However, the former Black Cat has been deployed out wide for much of the season - a position that doesn't suit Henderson - and as a result, Liverpool have not benefited from his full potential.

In an increasingly competitive midfield that boasts the talents of Steven Gerrard, Lucas Leiva, Stewart Downing, and Charlie Adam, the youngster has often looked at a loss, and struggled to make his presence count.

He doesn't play killer passes like Adam, he doesn't clear up in front of the defence like Lucas, he doesn't charge down the wings like Downing, he doesn't drive the team forward like Gerrard. As a result, he seems to be on the pitch half the time playing neither well or badly, ultimately lacking purpose, or direction.

Henderson will prove his doubters wrong in the long run, but the signs aren't particularly good at the moment. He gives the ball away with badly weighted passes, moves break down due to his lack of ball control, and his positional play and anticipation are poor. But all that will come with experience.

His detractors should sympathise with a player that is being overexposed early in his career, and there is an argument to suggest that Henderson should not be regularly in the Liverpool starting line-up at present, ahead of players like Maxi Rodriguez or Dirk Kuyt.

The midfielder has the necessary time on his side to correct his current deficiencies. As long as Liverpool fans keep faith in Henderson, the long-term investment will start to bear fruit.

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Jordan Henderson
Premier League

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