'He was a killer' - International boss provides glowing reference of ex-Sunderland starlet

Canada manager and former Sunderland youth coach John Herdman has stated that Jordan Henderson was a “killer” footballer whilst developing on Wearside.

The homegrown midfielder made 79 appearances for Sunderland before being sold to Liverpool for an undisclosed fee thought to be between £16million and £20million.

Since then, the 32-year-old has won the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, Club World Cup, European Super Cup and Carabao Cup during a glittering 11-and-a-half seasons at Anfield and is part of the England squad at the World Cup in Qatar.

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Jordan Henderson, captain of Liverpool, wearing the rainbow captain armband in support of the LGBTQ+ during the Premier League match against Leeds United at Anfield.

Herdman coached Henderson when he was 11 at Sunderland, where his game was then very different to how it developed later at Liverpool and with England.

Herdman told talkSPORT: “He was head and shoulders above players at that time. He was playing up an age group, sometimes two age groups.

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“He played with that intensity. I watch him play now as an adult and he has this look on his face that just has this intensity, and he had that as a kid.

“For me, there’s a character. He had a real personality to influence and impact the game.

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“At that age, he was a killer. He would dominate the game through his dribbling abilities, so seeing him now as more of a passer… I pictured him being a Jack Grealish-type player in terms of his dribbling ability.

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“His personality hasn’t changed and it’s amazing to see the same personality is pervasive and it’s those players who don’t let the game knock it out of them. They tend to get there and he’s done that.”