19 |England | Midfielder | Sunderland
One 2 Watch focuses closer to home this week as we examine Wearside’s biggest emerging talent Jordan Henderson.
Some Soccer AM (Sky’s Saturday morning programme) purists may remember Jordan Henderson when he appeared on their “Skill School” feature about two years ago. It’s rare we ever hear or see of these young tricksters after their five minutes of fame but the Sunderland wide man has managed to break into the Sunderland first team this season and has appeared in sixteen of their games – making a big impression.
Local boy Henderson has been graduating through the ranks at Sunderland quickly and is regarded as their hottest property. Henderson made his first team debut for the Black Cats exactly a year ago before a brief but impressive spell on loan at Coventry where he played ten games and scored one goal.
Henderson is an out and out winger and that’s where he has plied his trade throughout his young career. When Steve Bruce arrived in the summer he was quick to make his mark on the club; signing players like Darren Bent, Lorik Cana and Michael Turner. But the ex-Wigan boss took an instant liking to young Jordan and has rewarded his hard work with a first team berth often in the absense of Lee Cattermole.
But Bruce made the decision to bring Henderson into a more central position, and the move may turn out to be a masterstroke for the club and for Henderson’s future in football. Henderson has taken to the position like a duck to water, undoubtedly helped by his athletic prowess and incredible engine to cover every blade of grass over ninety minutes.
Henderson was awarded a starting spot against Chelsea earlier this season, keeping tabs on Ashley Cole for much of the game along the left, and threatened on more then one occasion. Sunderland had the young star to thank when he toed away a spectacular goalscoring chance for the England full back.
Jordan has a lot to learn after his quick transition into the centre of midfield, but he’s certainly a diamond in the rough. He has plenty of willingness and enthusiasm and all the right foundations to go on and become a top class player. Henderson has been what could be prematurely compared to Steven Gerrard for his strong likeness to Gerrard’s powerful runs and tough tackling in the centre of the park. Sunderland fans will be hoping they have their own Gerrard to rely on, and if early signs point the right way England may have it’s natural successor to Stevie G.
As he keeps progressing, it’s certain the midfielder will be linked with big Premier League names but at the moment he is firmly within Sunderland and Steve Bruce’s grasp. At present he could be valued at around £7million, which will no doubt multiply as time goes on.