The Case of Hendo

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Post by Arquitecto Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:24 pm

I'm not going to add anything new here or any profoundly new idea that will have you nodding your heads. Its simply something that has been on my mind for quite a while as I may just be seeing it come into full effect by Kenny.

Jordan Henderson; Our 20 mil man has been met with mixed anticipation and opinion but I personally feel there is a reason behind that.

Henderson since his Sunderland days has mostly played as a right-sided midfielder he bombs down the flank and occasionally adjusts himself more centrally to keep the team going with his passing and movement.

At Sunderland, he was touted as their brightest youth product fresh from the Sunderland youth camp as Roy Keane once quoted: "I just like the kid, he's got an innocence about him that's rare these days — and Jordan can play, the kid's got a real chance."

Steve Fathead Bruce once said: "I think it's fair to say that Jordan sometimes doesn't get the headlines or the recognition that he deserves. Maybe that has something to do with where we are geographically, I don't know.

Many Sunderland fans and some of the ones over here repeatedly disagreed with me that he is a central player. They provided me videos of how he runs down the flank and crosses the ball in, cuts inside, etc etc.

But much to my surprise, I don't understand how they did not notice how much better he is when playing a central role.

In a central role whether CM or CAM, he , held together his midfield, covering acres, knitting together moves and setting up a goals, making scintillating passes, opened up spaces with his movement and generally was the metronome of his team in the sense that his actions produced Sunderland's crucial movements and they were positive.

But since Bruce the Fathead is so thick and seemingly Sunderland fans as well, Bruce continued to play and limit Hendo in the right sided role.

In Liverpool, the only time he did play a more central role was when he came of the bench and was afforded the extra space due to the formation and open midfield that was taken place within that time frame.

Most, if not all of the other games, he was playing as a right-sided midfielder whose only option seemed to cross it in and cut inside as although the latter was rare due to many other players of our team doing the same, therefore his games involved him neglected and pushed out further and further wide until he couldn't exert his influence as much as he would like.

During the United game, when he came on he seemed like a man possessed as his new (or temporary) central role seemingly gave him the comfort and direction that he prefers as we all know how much he impressed us within that short span of time given to him. Much much better from the somewhat introverted playing style we had seen in a few games.

Some Examples:

Joe Cole- Many of the Livepool fans here criticize me for wanting Joe Cole to stay in Liverpool. But his whole time spent in Liverpool, with Bodgeson and Kenny involved him playing in a winger/left-sided midfielder in his games given to him.

How is it that nobody has not figured out that J.Cole is a CENTRAL player and he prefers it that way. The games where he did impress us with his passing,movement and play, he was played as a central player. This is actually the story of his career btw as his continually impressed in a central role and was below expectation when pushed out wide.

Raul Meireles- Remember when Woy played him wide and most of us questioned his ability? Kenny came in and was smart enough to play him in a central role in which he prefers that given role as we all remember his performances during his short time.

I can even more examples to prove this isn't coincidental, but I have to ask, what do all these players have in common?

When growing up in your youth camps and adolescence, those are the times where your manager and yourself, figure out what type of player you really are. More importantly they, along with you discover if you are naturally a central player or a wide player. Elaborating more, in central it can be ranging from CM, to CAM to AM or CF and the latter can be a winger, Mezzalla/side-midfielder.

If you do discover that a wide role is natural, these characteristics in preference involve a penchant to prefer an overview from the sidelines, preference to cross from either side, preference to naturally move wide and hug the touch line and provide width. Simply put, your natual reaction will be to drift wide even if you are not pressured to due so simply because your brain naturally reacts and functions better when in that position to exploit your visual and cognitive abilities from out wide.

If you are a central player, you would prefer a team which is more centralized around you (Raul), a team that can exploit your 360 degree vision and and passing (J.Cole), you would possess the natural ability to maneuver yourself within the heart of the midfield or more advanced simply because you have been nurtured to embrace that role. You would feel home when surrounded by players rather then being out wide away from them.

Henderson, along with the ones who are out-wide and away from their natural position all display the characteristics of wanting to play centrally when out wide. They display this when they repeatedly go off position to maneuver themselves centrally, constantly cut inside when they are told to stay wide, and simply look better and more comfortable when central during the time they position themselves there.

This may all seem like hypothetical and speculative nonsense to most of you but its simply what I have learned and experienced through watching football and being under a similar experience myself during my youth playing days.

I regularly criticize Hendo for crumbling under pressure, but maybe I haven't realized he does so when playing wide as I've yet to see him be his usual self when we seem him nervous, shying away from the game and preferring to keep things simple due to not wanting to take risks.

Confidence is another issue as well he lacks that somewhat for now. But I myself will not deny how much more natural and comfortable on his feet he looks when placed central.

Good news is, through recent comments from the staff and players, they have hinted many times Hendo will move to a more central role and probably realized that after his brief time against United.

Fun Fact: He grew up playing a central role, more specifically, a central midfielder.




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Post by Arquitecto Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:17 am

BUMP.

C'mon guys thoughts?
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Post by Le Samourai Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:43 pm

Well.

I have mixed feelings here.I want what's best for him and evidently he dosen't want to be a right winger , but I think that's where he has to be since he can't really compete for one of the CAM or CM spots.

But I may definitely be wrong because If I'm being honest I wouldve said the same about Gerrard in his first season when he predominantly played Right Wing.

I just think regular playing time out of position is better than no playing time in your preferred position.

Question Do you guys see him as a long term replacement for Stevie?
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Post by donttreadonred Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:21 pm

I. LIKE. HENDERSON... (for what he is.)

Henderson is a project and he was bought to be a project. When I watch him play on the right, I consistently think, "Damnit! He looks like Maxi part deux" - don't ask why I used French in referring to an English and Argentine player. He always seems to be on the verge of becoming an influential midfielder player like Gerrard and, arguably, Downing. Then I remember that he just turned 21. The fact that he's contributing to a much improved Liverpool and contending for a starting spot with Anfield legends Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard (don't get me wrong, I don't think he should win out, yet) shows his potential. I personally believe Kenny has been giving him starts early in the season partly because Gerrard was out and partly because he wanted to get him some experience before we get into the grind and "big games" in the heart pf the season.

Then you have his display against ManU. Shocked No, he did not finish his chances. That said, he was in the right place, and he was terrorizing a world class defense. In all honesty, he was unlucky not to give LFC the full three points. His chip was a thing of beauty, only stopped by an incredible save by De Gea, and his header was a good effort for a player who's more accustomed to being on the opposite end of that situation. (Isn't that the situation we bought Andy Carroll for...? hmm ) Unfortunately, he showed his age and true level of experience when he was unable to convert the chances. However, in the grand scheme of this lad's career, it was a performance that belies the talent Comolli and King Kenny saw when they paid 20 mil for him.
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Post by BeautifulGame Fri Oct 21, 2011 5:19 pm

I think more important than where he plays is which formation he plays.

IMHO Henderson is good enough to flourish even as a wide player if he is played as a forward in 4-3-3 with an attacking RW like Johnson.He is very capable of playing as an inside forward and make those runs and finish of chances as well as pull defenders wide with his off the ball running.

Similarly i think he will flourish in a midfield roll too but should be played as one of 3 midfielders.Its no surprise his best performances for us were when we played 4-3-3 (Against Bolton ) and against United.

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Post by Art Morte Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:50 pm

We've got so many MF players who are better in a central position than in the wing that something's gotta give. Gerrard, Adam, Lucas, Henderson, Spearing.

Maxi, too, often seems at least as adapt in a CAM role as a winger.

On top of that we've got Aquilani, Shelvey and Cole out on loan, all of them central MF players.

Ideally Henderson would get more opportunities in central midfield, but it's a crowded area in our team.
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Post by RedOranje Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:05 pm

Henderson's attributes tend to lend him toward a CAM/RAM role. He has shown with the England U-21's and against United that when in such a role he has the intelligence to get into good positions and the ability to keep play moving. HOWEVER, most Sunderland fans thought he was best at RM last season and I believe his current confidence (or lack thereof) are contributing greatly to his ineffectual performances out wide... he's simply not in the right state of mind to take on the fullback and contribute as we'd like and he doesn't have the pace to beat them outright.

He's best position for us, IMO, will be in an AM role behind the main striker and in this sense I think he may well be the "successor" to Gerrard; but he won't fill the role in the same way. Don't expect the driving runs, hollywood balls, and 30 yard scorchers. Instead I think he'll play more of a creator role by using his movement to create space and his vision to pick out the proper through balls and, when the opportunity arises, chips as we saw against United. He's a much more subtle type of AM than Gerrard.
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Post by justdoit_ Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:38 am

@Arquitecto wrote:C'mon guys thoughts?

@Arquitecto wrote:But since Bruce the Fathead is so thick and seemingly Sunderland fans as well, Bruce continued to play and limit Hendo in the right sided role.

My boy down who lives down the hall that supports Sunderland says you're a scouse prick. So those are his thoughts, if you wanted to hear them Laughing
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Post by Red Alert Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:48 am

@justdoit_ wrote:
@Arquitecto wrote:C'mon guys thoughts?

@Arquitecto wrote:But since Bruce the Fathead is so thick and seemingly Sunderland fans as well, Bruce continued to play and limit Hendo in the right sided role.

My boy down who lives down the hall that supports Sunderland says you're a scouse prick. So those are his thoughts, if you wanted to hear them Laughing

Couldn't help but laugh. XD
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Post by Red Alert Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:59 am

@ OP:

Meireles was never really given a central role with Kenny. He was playing on the wing, but cut in a lot. And Henderson cost 16m. Razz

Anyway. I believe we should train Henderson in the position Adam has now. He could easily fit in right there. Hes great in possession, hardly gives the ball away and can also help the DM with his work rate. His positional sense is also brilliant for his age. He's also not bad taking the ball forward. Can't really state that as a fact though, as I've only seen him do it a few times against the Mancs.

For me, most of his LFC highlights cameo has been in a central role thus far. That throughball to Suarez against Bolton? was brilliant, his performance against United and Everton (they did have 10 men though) was also great. We have a gem in our hands. He and Shelvey, will cement their places in the first XI in a few years time. Chuck in Coady there too. The future looks bright. Very Happy
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Post by RedAndWhiteArmy Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:04 am

Just needs a bit of time to settle in with new tactics and a new manager. Overall, I don't think he's done that bad for you yet and he has a good chance to do well today. Going from a mid table club to a top 4 club (where i think you will finish this season) isn't always easy.
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Post by Red Alert Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:10 am

Real, where do you believe he should progress as?

On the wing or more of a central role?

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Post by RedAndWhiteArmy Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:17 am

He can play both positions but quite a lot he played on the wing and at times he played well but at other times he was anonymous. When he played in the centre with Cattermole, he got lots of assists and was always the one who set up chances for Bent, Gyan or Welbeck (none of them at the club now :facepalm: )
But to be honest I think he could progress in either position. Maybe give him a game in the middle today as Lucas is suspended
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Post by Arquitecto Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:19 pm

In reply to everyone;

Of course, I am not implying he should start ahead of our starters, and I do acknowledge the competition he faces, from our current batch. However, this is a positive outlook in the aspect that competition will only augment his development and drive him to improve where is is weak. Best thing is, the friendly Melwood environment is famous for possessing a synergistic, interdependent atmosphere where everyone is always helping each other to improve. Its their sheer will to enterprise and contribute for the club they play in. Its a contagious attribute acquired when in Liverpool. Past legends and players have spoken about it all the time.

I'm glad everyone here agree with my perspective as we all have come to the conclusion that Hendo is meant for the central role. His famous stat of creating chances a plenty was all done within the central role. Yes, he has the ability to cut in, cross in and make inside runs as BG mentioned, but we are speaking of the role in which is natural to his preference and in which he can be most effective in.

Next Gerrard? I agree, he isn't our next Gerrard not because he doesn't have the potential to reach his level, but simply as red mentioned, he is a player of a different mold.

Henderson is one of those players (like Maxi) who is under appreciated for his intelligent movement, simple but effective distribution and all around selfless drive to make his team play better for the whole rather then seeking glory for himself.

His playing style is too subtle and indirect imo to be called Gerrard but there are areas where he can succeed over Gerrard eventually.

Best thing is, we all forget he is only 20, and at his age with his skillset, he is so versatile, flexible and malleable enough to be molded into the player LFC and Kenny need and want him to be.

For now, he will have to be patient and observe his seniors and learn from them in all aspects until he is truly ready to take the midfield into his hands.
Until then, he will be implemented in a rotation based system.

In the future, I would like Hendo to be more vocal on the field along with hoping Kenny and Co. bring out his noted leadership skills.


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Post by Arquitecto Sat Dec 21, 2013 2:49 pm

Say hello to the evolution of one of our most controversial signings in the Dalglish tenure. In the absence of Steven Gerrard we have seen Hendo evolve beyond a mere intelligent simplistic midfielder into a Lampard-ish central reign who has grabbed our midfield by the balls and has been a resounding success in the final third. His telepathic ability to find Luis Suarez, his composure in the final third, his vision to move with his flash runs into the box and interchangeability in perfect unison with Joe Allen has been testament to how well he has improved under Brendan Rodgers. Never doubted him once and never will after this spell of form.
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Post by Red Alert Sat Dec 21, 2013 3:01 pm

Should merge with other thread.
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