Is Liverpool's Henderson the next Lampard?

Liverpool FC - Seeing Is Believing - Jordan Henderson

Liverpool midfielder and England international Jordan Henderson has been discussing his training and work ethic after an impressive improvement for the Reds in the Premier League this term.

The 23-year-old had been the subject of criticism in the early days following his reported £20 million move from Sunderland to Anfield in 2011 but this season he has been repaying the faith shown by manager Brendan Rodgers and the patience of the fans.

The central midfielder has scored four goals and made six assists in all competitions this term for the Reds who currently sit fourth in the Premier League table well on their way to qualify for the Champions League and still in with a say in the title race this season.

"Sometimes I need people to tell me to rest," Henderson said.

"After training sometimes I like to do a little bit extra. A few of us do a bit of shooting or whatever it might be but sometimes you need to give your legs a rest and prepare for the game in the best way that you can.”

"We have the right people at the club to tell you when you can and when you can't do the extra bit," he added.

It’s abundantly clear from his performance under Rodgers this season that Henderson has indeed been working incredibly hard off the pitch and it’s been paying dividends on the pitch. His contribution to Liverpool’s league position this term and some of the sensational results against top teams has been nothing short of impressive.

His turn around could perhaps be compared to that of Chelsea veteran Frank Lampard who is known to be, like his countrymen David Beckham, one of the hardest trainers in English football. Without being the glamorous kind of attacking playmaker in the mould of Steven Gerrard in his prime or a forward taking the plaudits like Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge this term, Henderson’s work rate reminds me of the kind of Gareth Barry and Lampard roles over the years – the unsung heroes of midfield for club and country week in week out, year after year.

Back in his early career at West Ham, Lampard had not been a prolific goal scorer or ‘star’ of the Hammers’ team. In his six seasons at Upton Park, he scored an average just four league goals a season and for the duration of his career with West Ham he never exceeded 7 goals in one term in the Premier League.

In his first season with Chelsea, Lampard managed just five league goals for the Blues in 2001/02 at which point he was age 23, incidentally the same age as Henderson is now. However he increased his goal tally and performance level, technique, form and confidence across the next 12 seasons at Stamford Bridge – by 2005/06 he was netting 16 goals in the league and 20 goals in all competitions for Chelsea and flash-forward to his best season in 2009/10, he scored 22 league goals and 27 in total, aged 31.

It is my first belief that Jordan Henderson’s work rate in training and on the pitch will make him the ‘next Frank Lampard’ for England and an ideal successor to skipper Steven Gerrard’s current role in the central midfield role or defensive midfield role.

He needed a bit of time to convince in his Anfield career so far but, given time, I believe his level of performance will start to near that of his elder England colleagues in the next decade.

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