Of all the footballing miracles Brendan Rodgers has performed so far at Liverpool, transforming Jordan Henderson from a man circling the drain at the club to its vice-captain must be near the top of the list.
That said, plenty of the credit has to go to the player himself, who reportedly turned down the chance to leave the Reds near the start of Rodgers’ tenure in order to fight for his place.
And fight he did, regaining his manager’s trust during Liverpool’s scrappy 2012/13 season before becoming a key figure as they mounted a remarkable title challenge last year.
Henderson played 35 league games, being substituted just once, with the only three matches he missed entirely coming due to suspension.
It is a demonstration of his importance to the side that during his absence, Liverpool surrendered the title by losing to Chelsea and drawing with Crystal Palace.
Rodgers has placed even more demands on Henderson’s shoulders this season by demanding more attacking output, and the midfielder has responded with two assists in his first four matches.
Furthermore, the manager has marked him out as Steven Gerrard’s long-term successor as skipper by making him vice-captain.
Henderson has experience of wielding the armband with England’s under-21 side, and now looks as good a time as any for the savvy punter to back him to be the senior team’s next captain at the generous 3/1 odds bwin are offering.
Wayne Rooney was recently named skipper of the Three Lions and the 28-year-old will likely hold onto the honour just long enough for Henderson to truly establish himself as a key man for his country.
The 24-year-old has started five of England’s last six matches, with the only one missed against Costa Rica at the World Cup, when his country had already crashed out of the tournament.
As Roy Hodgson attempts to shape his side around the exciting youngsters at Liverpool and Arsenal, Henderson’s all-action style will be the perfect engine.
His commitment and temperament have never been doubted, and now Henderson has added consistent quality on the pitch the midfielder looks every inch a future England captain.