STEVEN GERRARD has hailed ex-Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson as the ideal replacement for the Liverpool captain’s job.
East Herrington-born Henderson led out Liverpool for the stalemate against Sunderland last month after being appointed vice-captain at Anfield during the summer.
MLS outfit LA Galaxy have confirmed Gerrard will be joining them at the end of the season, when the 34-year-old brings the curtain down on his Liverpool career.
And prior to Liverpool’s visit to the Stadium of Light this weekend, Gerrard believes he will be leaving the captain’s armband in safe hands with Henderson.
“I certainly believe Jordan has everything you need to be a great captain,” Gerrard said.
“He’s a fantastic professional who tries to lead by example in every training session and in every game.
“He has really grown as a player and is improving all the time with experience.
“He can become a great captain for this club. He’s a fantastic player for me to hand the armband over to.
“I’ve got great respect for Jordan Henderson and I know everyone else at the club feels the same.”
Henderson initially struggled at Anfield after leaving Sunderland in a £19million move in the summer of 2011, and had the opportunity to depart just 12 months into his Liverpool career.
But the 24-year-old Black Cats academy product was a key figure in Liverpool’s second placed finish last season and has established himself as an England regular.
“Initially, it was very difficult for Jordan,” added Gerrard to the Liverpool Echo.
“He was a Sunderland boy and moving to Liverpool was his first time out of the area. It was a big move at a young age.
“Playing for Liverpool, with all the pressure and expectation, is tough. It’s a very demanding club.
“Jordan stayed and toughed it out. It’s in difficult situations like that you learn a lot about the type of player and the type of character someone is.
“He knuckled down and worked even harder. He’s a true professional and a very strong character.
“Every day he’s in the gym doing extra work. He doesn’t drink and he looks after himself. He has made a lot of sacrifices to play well for this club.”