JORDAN Henderson has admitted it was a wrench agreeing to leave Sunderland this month after spending so much of his life at the club.
The England Under-21 midfielder remains very much a Sunderland fan and regularly spoke of his joy at playing for his hometown club, having grown up in the city and come through the club’s youth ranks.
But he accepts that the move to Liverpool was just too good an opportunity to turn down and says that his heartache at leaving the Stadium of Light has been replaced by the excitement of the challenge for him at Anfield.
“Liverpool’s a massive club,” observed Henderson (pictured).
“I’ve been at Sunderland a long time and I’ve supported them since I was a kid, so it hurt a little bit to go.
“But obviously Liverpool’s a massive, massive club and I’m looking forward to the future, I’m really excited by it.”
Henderson is also thrilled about the idea of improving under the guidance of two legends of the game – Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, who has transformed the Reds’ fortune since returning to the helm in January, and former England skipper Steven Gerrard, who has defined the role of the modern midfielder.
Asked if he was impressed by Dalglish’s inspirational management, he said: “Yeah, definitely. The manager’s been there for only a short space of time and you can see how well he’s done.
“The players have done brilliantly as well, so I am really looking forward to it and it’ll be massive for me, learning from such a good player as Steven Gerrard.
“There’s obviously a lot of good players at Liverpool, but I’ll learn a lot from Steven. You can see what he’s achieved in the game over many years.”
For the moment though, Henderson is concentrating on doing his best for England Under-21s in the European U21 Championships after his team got out of jail against classy Spain thanks to a late Danny Welbeck equaliser in Sunday’s 1-1 draw.
“Spain made it really difficult for us,” he said. “But now we’ve got to focus on the two games against Ukraine and the Czech Republic and I’m sure we’ll be ready for them.”