The England midfielder’s price tag brought some unkind scrutiny in his early days at Anfield, including from Sir Alex Ferguson, but he has been out to prove them wrong
Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson says that he always had the self-belief to rise above the criticism he received in his early days at Anfield.
The 23-year-old made a big-money move from Sunderland to the Reds in June 2011 but struggled to make an impact until 2013-14, a season in which he excelled and earned a place in the England squad for the World Cup.
Henderson, though, claims that he was always confident of proving himself, telling reporters: “In football you are going to have times where you have got to be strong and you have got to keep believing in your own ability. That is just part and parcel of the game.
“All I do is just try to get on with it and work hard. I always believed I was a good enough player to be playing for England and Liverpool as well.
“Hopefully I can keep progressing as a player and getting better. There were a few people who did help me – the big players at Liverpool, when you’re around them, help you a lot.
“But, at the same time, you have to deal with stuff like that on your own and try and get through it on your own. No-one else can change it except yourself, to be honest.
“There is no one more disappointed than us when we don’t have a good game or are not playing well – I just had to keep battling and try and prove them wrong.”
Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was one of Henderson’s critics, the legendary boss questioning his running style, though Henderson feels that his comments were blown out of proportion and says that he was able to think positively of them.
“I think everybody blew it up to be more than it was,” he recalled, “but, looking back, I took it as a bit of a compliment because he said he was watching us and thinking about buying us so I must have been doing something right.”