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Henderson hungry to defy critics

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson said he is determined to forge a successful career after a difficult first season at Anfield.

Henderson moved from boyhood club Sunderland for 18.4 million euros in 2011 but struggled in his first season, and has said those experiences have helped him improve as a player.

“I don’t think what’s happened will have done me any harm. I think I might have needed it, to be honest,” he told The Guardian.

“You will get criticism throughout your career. All the best players have had it at some stage and they haven’t let it ruin their careers. I won’t either.”

Henderson also said the biggest challenge when he moved to Liverpool was stepping up to match the ability of his more illustrious team-mates like Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez.

He added: “It was just different. When I was at Sunderland I didn’t think I was the star or anything but here you have people like Stevie and (Luis) Suarez and Pepe Reina and Carra (Jamie Carragher), who have been the best players for many years.

“And straight away, you have to try to
match their ability. It was a step up, a challenge. I felt I was playing well at times, just not on a consistent basis which is what you have to do at Liverpool.

“That’s what I needed to get my head around the most: that I had to do it all the time, not just occasionally. When you come to a club like Liverpool you need to perform straight away and consistently.

“Looking back, I don’t think I did that. There were games when I thought I’d played well. It just wasn’t every single week and that isn’t enough for a club like Liverpool. I needed to learn that.”

Now, the man who has won five caps for England and travelled as part of the Euro 2012 squad believes manager Brendan Rodgers has been key in his improvement this season.

He said: “OK, it might not have gone to plan at the start, but I knew I could turn around and get it right. I knew I just had to take it on the chin.

“Even though I wasn’t in the team, I felt that if I kept going, kept working hard, kept fighting, I would get my chance again, and that I would take it.

“The manager’s been brilliant with me, to be fair. He’s told me the things I need to work on and how I can get better.

“He’s looked back on previous games and talked to me about the things I can improve tactically, how I can be more disciplined, the positions I take up.

“I feel as if I’ve done that now. I’m still working on it but I feel I’m doing better now.”

Sat 2 Feb, 2013
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