'It's been a joy to watch': Steve Bruce reflects on Jordan Henderson's remarkable rise from Sunderland to Liverpool

There have been few coaches who have had as profound an impact on Jordan Henderson’s senior career as Steve Bruce.

Friday, 26th June 2020, 11:58 am
Updated Friday, 26th June 2020, 11:58 am
Former Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson

It was he who, in the 2009/10 season, handed the young midfielder a senior squad number and gave him a regular taste of Premier League football.

It was he who handed the East Herrington lad 70 top flight appearances, helping him to earn back-to-back Young Player of the Year awards from the club.

And it was he who, when Liverpool came calling in 2011, waved the Sunderland academy prospect on to a bright future.

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Now, almost a decade on, Bruce can look back with pride at the key role he played in Henderson’s development – particularly given the events of this week, where the Liverpool skipper has added a Premier League medal to a trophy cabinet which also contains a Champions League winners medal.

And Bruce – now manager of Newcastle United – was quick to praise the 30-year-old’s character and desire to better himself.

“It just goes to show. He had a wonderful desire at 18 – that's why I put him in the team. You could argue that he's not the most naturally-gifted footballer out there, but by God, he gets the best out of himself.

“Now to be the captain of Liverpool, captain of England, Premier League winner, Champions League winner, World Club Championship winner, I can't speak highly enough of the lad.

“I'm delighted at his progress over the last 10 years, it's been a joy to watch. When you've set somebody on their way, that's one of the good parts of this job, to see how they mature and how they develop and how they grow and the career they've had.

“Congratulations to Jordan, he's done fantastically well.”

Liverpool were confirmed as Premier League winners after Chelsea beat Manchester City on Thursday evening – with Henderson struggling to comprehend the achievement.

“It’s hard to describe to be honest,” he said, speaking to Liverpool’s official website.

“But after the final whistle it was just an amazing feeling again, especially to spend it with all the lads and the staff. To finally get over the line is a relief but also an amazing feeling.”