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Stats: Henderson v Wilshere - a close contest?

Jack Wilshere

Jordan Henderson has come a long way at Anfield this season, even giving Jack Wilshere a run for his money in three key departments.

Indeed, the Liverpool midfielder has become an integral part of Brendan Rodgers' setup, providing his side with a never-say-die work-rate and a speedy transition on the counterattack.

And it is interesting to note that the 23-year-old impresses most in a defensive capacity... 

PlayerTeamPosInterception / appsWon Tackle / appsWon Contest / appsAccurate Pass / appsAppsMins
Jordan Henderson Liverpool MF 0.96 1.67 0.58 45.46 24 2,139
Jack Wilshere Arsenal MF 0.47 1.32 1.74 40.16 19 1,341

As we can see from the above Opta stats (taken from Premier League matches), Henderson has out-performed Arsenal's Jack Wilshere in three key areas so far this season.

Two of those areas, as mentioned, are defensive, with Henderson making more than double the amount of interceptions per game as the England midfielder, while also succeeding with more tackles.

Where the 23-year-old might need to improve, however, is on the ball, with Wilshere easily beating him in the dribbling department, winning three times as many contests as him going forward.

But the fourth key area provides a surprise, with Henderson playing more accurate passes per match than Wilshere. That does not account for total passes made, of course, but still demonstrates something about Henderson's all-round ability.

Indeed, while 22-year-old Wilshere has played far less minutes than Henderson this season due to injury problems, the Reds midfielder is clearly no pushover in comparison.

If attacking statistics were considered, Wilshere might come out on top but Henderson's defensive solidity is nonetheless impressive considering his attacking nature as a player. The fact that the 23-year-old can give Wilshere a run for his money at all is testament to the Liverpool man's resurgence since he first came to Anfield.

And if the Gunners midfielder is fit enough to play a big part in Saturday's clash on Merseyside, the two might just provide viewers with a fascinating duel.

Have you been impressed with Henderson's improvement this season?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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