Jordan Henderson as a makeweight to get Clint Dempsey to Liverpool never really made much sense, but the young midfielder nonetheless confirmed that he was offered a chance to leave the club just over a year after joining.
I feel like we write some variant of this intro at least once or twice a month--note a piece of news about Jordan Henderson, cite overblown hysteria about how much he cost and how he might not actually be to blame for that, point out that he's still very young by every standard other than the English football one, and then talk optimistically about how he's got both the talent and the work ethic to come good over the next few years.
So this is essentially that with a twist, as yesterday the player confirmed that the talk of his being shopped in the final hours of the transfer window as part of a deal to bring Clint Dempsey to Anfield did happen, but he nixed the move in hopes of proving his worth under Brendan Rodgers:
"When the manager told me I could go to Fulham it was a bit of a shock at first. What he said came as a sort of bolt from the blue. I think the Dempsey situation had stalled, but it wasn't really of interest to me. I worked really hard to come to a club like Liverpool and I didn't want to leave in a hurry. I want to stay at Liverpool for as long as I can. I want to keep fighting for my place and I told the manager that. I said I wanted to stay and keep fighting because I believe I can get into the team.
"I just wanted to focus on playing for Liverpool, work hard and get myself into the team. Some people might have thought they'd rather go and play football but I said I will continue to work hard every day, keep fighting and I believe I have the ability to be in the team."
There's something still not quite right about offering up a player that had been vehemently praised shortly after Rogers arrived, and it's still confounding given the mixed messages the manager has sent--encouraging at the start, offering up for sale on deadline day, talking vaguely about having a good relationship wherever the player ends up, and, most recently, talking about how Jordan Henderson has a "great future here."
Clear as mud, but as someone who's continually encouraged by the displays that he's produced under the new manager (and the ones last season that saw him play centrally), there's no reason to think that he can't continue to grow and improve. There's Joe Allen, Lucas, Steven Gerrard, Jonjo Shelvey, and Nuri Sahin to contend with, and many are quick to place Henderson at the bottom of that pecking order. On the whole, though, it'd be hard to argue that Liverpool could possibly have more stability through the midfield than with Allen and Henderson involved, with Gerrard failing to adapt, Shelvey promising but inconsistent, and Sahin still working towards consistency.
Jordan Henderson might not prove to be Liverpool's most influential midfielder, but he's one that's made Liverpool better when he's been involved this season, and what the club paid for him last year has little to do with what he can offer right now. We'll remain hopeful that he can maintain the progress he's made under Brendan Rodgers despite the reduced minutes, and that if the time comes for him to step into a more regular role, he can continue to perform.