Steven Gerrard says he felt a deep sense of pride and kinship in seeing “selfless” successor Jordan Henderson lead Liverpool to Champions League glory.
Reds great Gerrard watched on as the club he captained for over a decade battled to a 2-0 defeat of Premier League rivals Tottenham in Madrid on Saturday.
It was the sixth time the Anfield side have been crowned European champions and the first since the famous Gerrard-inspired comeback against AC Milan in 2005.
Sunderland product Henderson inherited the armband 10 years later and fittingly celebrated at the Wanda Metropolitano in front of his former team-mate and mentor.
“[I felt] proud that Liverpool were back at the top of European football and especially proud of Jordan because I know how hard he works,” Gerrard wrote in a column for The Times.
“I know the sacrifices he has made, the pressure and scrutiny he has been under.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) June 3, 2019
“If I had to name someone I regarded as the ultimate professional, Jordan would be right at the top of the list. He is immaculate in the way he lives his life.
“Some people don’t see the stuff behind the scenes, the gym work, the way he eats, but he is someone who is an incredible role model.”
Henderson had to compete for his position earlier this term and capped a commendable return to prominence with a 90-minute performance as Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi combined to sink Spurs.
Criticism has often followed the 28-year-old England international on Merseyside, but Gerrard believes he has done well under the “magnified” pressure of captaining Liverpool.
“Scrutiny will always be there whether you are a player, a coach or a manager,” he said.
“Jordan has had his fair share, but he handles it well and the best thing to do is let your football do the talking.
“That is what he has done. That is what he will continue to do.”
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