Jordan Henderson just got his hands on the England U21 Player of The Year Award despite the player going unnoticed for the first half of the season. However on the current form, he is looking dangerous when accompanied alongside Steven Gerrard in Liverpool’s midfield.
Hendo, as a lot of supporters call him, was one of the highly rated midfielders in England when he played for Sunderland in 2010/2011 season. Then, the former Liverpool manager, Kenny Dalglish made him a part of his infamous British Revolution.
He used to play on the right-wing for Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool side but he looked ineffective as his preference is central midfield. After his poor performances last season, he was offered a transfer away, but he declined the move this summer and now he’s showing signs of being a very good midfielder.
Here are Hendo’s stats from his time at Sunderland :
Jordan Henderson Passing at Sunderland in 2010/11
The graphic below from EPLIndex’s brilliant Stats Centre shows that Jordan was the top passer in the side – he was the recycler for Sunderland and everything went through him in the centre of midfield. He was given the role of the main man in the middle and he didn’t do a bad job. He also attempted 228 crosses – that’s an enormous amount and in 37 starts he averaged six crosses per game. It was obvious Liverpool seemed to analyses statistics incorrectly in the Dalglish era by going for players who crossed often to supply Andy Carroll with goals – this tactic back-fired horrendously.
Jordan Henderson Creativity at Sunderland in 2010/11
For all those doubting Jordan’s creative side – take a look at the stats below. Jordan was the most creative for Sunderland in 2010/11 – he created 82 chances and assisted four goals. Before you start to talk about assists please remember that an assist is a two-way relationship. A creative player can create a chance but it’s up to the forward to score the goal.
So there’s absolutely no doubting that Jordan can do it – this was a full Premier League season and he’s shown he’s definitely capable of creating two chances per game.
Jordan Henderson compared to the top creators in 2010/11
So who was the sixth most creative player in the Premier League 2010/11? Yep it was Jordan Henderson. The stats below show that Jordan is very capable of creating from set plays – so his crossing is very good. The problem at Liverpool is that these are all left to Steven Gerrard to take so it’s difficult for him to showcase this skill to Liverpool fans. As you can see below – Stewart Downing was 4th that season and this was probably another reason Liverpool bought both Downing and Henderson.
So what’s happened to Jordan Henderson in the last two years?
Here is the comparison of playing time between his last two seasons:
As we can see, the left side is from 2011/2012 season and the right side is from 2012/2013 season. He started so rarely this season as Brendan Rodgers tended to play Joe Allen at the start. All of that has now changed as in the last 5 out of 6 matches, he has started and looked sharp with 2 goals and 2 assists. Note that Liverpool faced Arsenal and Manchester City back to back too.
Back to the stats, Hendo now has a marginally better passing accuracy than last season from 84% to 85% (both better than his season at Sunderland) so there isn’t really much to report there – he’s not one to give away possession this season losing it only 3 times therefore losing possession every 255 minutes in comparison to every 81 minutes last term.
Moving on to Creativity – Jordan Henderson has created as many clear-cut chances as last season and already tripled the amount of assists from last season (all highlighted above) in less than a third of the playing time. The improvements are highlighted in crossing accuracy, more frequent chance creation and more frequent clear-cut chance creation.
These are important factors for Liverpool which it seems that they have grasped onto. As Steven Gerrard ages he can’t be forced to play in the demanding position behind strikers, however Henderson could be the answer for this problem or even having Jordan in the side next to Steven can take away some of the burden from him as Jordan seems to have the qualities to provide for his current club.
His two goals showed different sides of him – he can finish from long-range (see Norwich goal) and has excellent technique and isn’t afraid to use his skill & strength to take a player on and score (see Arsenal goal). Things are looking very positive for the Jordan Henderson.
Henderson is trying to get his career back on track and the last few games will definitely endear him to the Kop faithful. After all, he is still a young player, the England Under 21 Player of the Year in fact, so there is still a lot time for him to develop and Liverpool fans should be patient with him and there are signs that there yet may be a turnaround in perception on the player – something we’ve seen in the last few years with Lucas Leiva.
With two goals and two assists in his last five starts Jordan Henderson is bang in form and it seems Brendan Rodgers has played a major hand in the resurrection of the the former Sunderland player.
All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.com – Subscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) Check out our new Top Stats feature on the Stats Centre which allows you to compare all players in the league & read about new additions to the stats centre.