Jordan Henderson Career Timeline: From Brendan Rodgers Reject to Premier League Winner

Jordan Henderson's rise to the peak of the football mountain was completed this year as he added the Premier League title to the Champions League trophy he lifted with Liverpool last season.

The 2019/20 campaign was full of nothing but positivity for Henderson, but it hasn't always been that way for the lad from Sunderland, whose career at the top level was nearly over before it had even begun.

Let's take a look at where Henderson's career has taken him thus far.

1998 - Joining Sunderland's Academy

Henderson in action in the FA Youth Cup

Henderson's football career began in 1998 when he joined up with Sunderland's academy at just eight years old.

He continued to rise up the ranks and was rewarded with his first professional contract in July 2008, just weeks after his 18th birthday.

2008 - Senior Debut

Henderson's debut ended in a 5-0 loss to Chelsea

To reward his status as one of the club's top prospects, a young Henderson was thrown to the lions in November 2008, when he came off the bench against Chelsea, who had reached the Champions League final just months earlier.

The teenager was understandably mauled during his 45 minutes on the pitch, with Frank Lampard, Deco, Joe Cole and John Obi Mikel picking him apart en route to a 5-0 victory. As far as debuts go, it wasn't the best for Henderson.

His first start came days later against Blackburn Rovers in the League Cup, but he ended up on the losing side yet again. He wasn't ready just yet.

2009 - Coventry City Loan

A loan move to Coventry soon followed

To try and get Henderson up to speed, he joined Championship side Coventry City on loan in January 2009. His contract there was initially only supposed to last one month, but he quickly impressed enough to earn himself an extension until the end of the season.

He scored his first senior goal in February 2009 against Norwich, but a foot injury two months later brought his time in Coventry to an abrupt end.

2009 - Sunderland Starter

Henderson won 2 Young Player of the Season awards at Sunderland

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce had seen enough of Henderson to know he deserved a spot in his squad for the 2009/10 season, and the midfielder managed the second 45 minutes of the opening game of the season.

Spending most of his time as a right midfielder, Henderson started 23 league games, managed one goal and five assists and won Sunderland's Young Player of the Year award (something he would do again in 2010/11).

2010 - England Debut

An England debut came in 2010

A regular in the Under-21 setup, once Henderson was revealed to have been omitted from the youth squad in November 2010, it became abundantly clear what was going to happen - Fabio Capello wanted him with the seniors.

A 20-year-old Henderson made his senior debut a few days later in a friendly against France. He started the game and lined up alongside none other than Steven Gerrard. How's that for foreshadowing?

He'd spend the next few years primarily with the Under-21s again, but it was clear that everyone in the England setup saw something special in Henderson.

2011 - Joining Liverpool

Henderson was one of several summer signings in 2011

The hype around Henderson was fairly high, but few expected him to become the first summer signing of the Fenway Sports Group era at Anfield. That's exactly what he did when he put pent to paper on a £16m switch to Liverpool.

He made his debut in the first game of that season, which just so happened to be against Sunderland, and that was the start of an underwhelming season for Henderson. He struggled to live up to expectations, despite being given regular opportunities, and it looked like another example of a young player moving to a big club too soon.

Manager Kenny Dalglish was sacked after a poor year, FSG lost faith in the young player and fans laughed at the idea of him being Gerrard's eventual successor. He was too expensive and not good enough, and so he was made available for a transfer.

2012 - Fulham Swap Collapses

Brendan Rodgers was keen to offload Henderson

It was Fulham who emerged as suitors for Henderson. New Reds boss Brendan Rodgers agreed a deal to send Henderson to Craven Cottage in exchange for Clint Dempsey - a deal most Liverpool fans saw as a stroke of genius.

“Brendan called me in and said “Listen, this is the offer” and he asked me what I thought,” said Henderson.

“It implied to me that he would let me leave and it was up to me. I went back to my room. I shed a few tears. I ended up crying a little bit because it hurt so much. I had the game that night to think about it as well.

"I spoke to my agent and told him what had happened and I said I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay and fight and try and improve and try to prove the manager wrong."

2014 - Liverpool Vice-Captain

Daniel Agger's departure saw Henderson become vice-captain

Henderson did go on to prove Rodgers wrong. He forced his way into the starting lineup and impressed so much that he was named Liverpool's vice-captain in 2014 following the departure of Daniel Agger.

He captained his first game in November 2014 as Gerrard was named on the bench in a game against Stoke City, and he was given several other runs with the armband before the season was over.

2015 - Liverpool Captain

"I certainly believe Jordan has everything you need to be a great captain,” Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo in January 2015. “He’s a fantastic professional who tries to lead by example in every training session and in every game.

“He can become a great captain for this club. He’s a fantastic player for me to hand the armband over to. I’ve got great respect for Jordan Henderson and I know everyone else at the club feels the same.”

Just a few months later, when Gerrard's departure finally arrived, Henderson was given the captain's armband on a permanent basis as a reward for his determination to make it at Anfield. He stared adversity in the face and rose up to the occasion.

2016 - Final Heartbreaks

Liverpool came up short against Sevilla in 2016

Henderson's time at Liverpool used to be synonymous with cup failures. He lost the FA Cup final in 2012 and came up short in the 2013/14 Premier League, but it was the 2015/16 campaign which summed up his misfortune best.

The Reds fell to Manchester City in the League Cup final before losing to Sevilla in the Europa League final a few months later.

It was Jürgen Klopp's first season, and although reaching finals is good, fans still wanted more from Henderson and Liverpool.

2018 - Champions League Final

Henderson came up short in the 2018 Champions League final

Just two years after falling in the Europa League, Henderson led Liverpool all the way to the Champions League final, where a moment of magic from Gareth Bale (and a few moments of madness from Loris Karius) saw Real Madrid raise the trophy at the end of the night.

Just a few months later, Henderson again tasted heartbreak with England in the World Cup semi-final, and while those two defeats were obviously tough to take, they proved the level Henderson was at. His club were now among the best in Europe and his country were among the best in the world.

2019 - Champions League Winner

Liverpool avenged the defeat one year later

He only had to wait one more year before getting his hands on Europe's biggest prize. Henderson, who had been benched in the semi-final first leg against Barcelona, again forced his way back into his manager's plans and ultimately led Liverpool to Champions League glory.

His doubters simply had to sit up and take notice. You don't accumulate that list of achievements unless you're really, really good at what you do.

2020 - Premier League Winner

Henderson added the Premier League trophy to his cabinet

Liverpool's status as England's best team was emphatically confirmed in the 2019/20 season as they cantered towards the Premier League title at a pace which left all other 19 teams feeling utterly humiliated.

After lifting the trophy, Henderson was then named as the FWA Player of the Year as a reward for his outstanding form.

"No-one sees the tough part, no-one sees the hard work that has gone behind the scenes and what you’ve been through not only as an individual off the pitch, but also through your career on the pitch. Nobody gets to see that side," he told Liverpool's official website.

"To go through everything that I have, and the lads as well, that’s what makes it more special and emotional when you do get to the point of achieving your dreams. "

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Source : 90min