By Richard Parks
Tony Cascarino has insisted that Liverpool fans are wrong to scapegoat Jordan Henderson as he is as good as any midfield anchorman in the Premier League.
The Anfield skipper, 27, bears the brunt of a lot of criticism from supporters who believe he does not have the technical ability and class to match his swagger and status.
But Cascarino, who has a regular slot on Sky Sports’ Premier League Daily programme, is convinced that Henderson is as good as his defensive midfield counterparts N’Golo Kante, Nemanja Matic and Fernandinho.
“When I hear fans criticising Jordan Henderson I think: ‘am I watching a different game;,” Cascarino wrote in the Times. “He is as important to Liverpool as all their flair players.
“He keeps things simple, he robs the ball off the opposition and brings energy to the midfield. He also chips in with the odd goal. Henderson’s work allows the creative players to express themselves; on Saturday, he allowed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to get forward to set up the opening goal for Mo Salah.
“I was talking about this on the radio yesterday and someone said that he’s not as good as Nemanja Matic at Manchester United, but I don’t see it. Matic, Fernandinho and Manchester City and N’Golo Kanté at Chelsea get the praise for that role, but Henderson does it as well as anyone else.”
Henderson has been a mainstay for Liverpool this season, making 28 appearances in all competitions.
Football Insider verdict:
Many Liverpool fans will be staggered at such high praise for Henderson, who they regard as little more than a running machine without the wit or vision to influence proceedings in the opposition third. Given that he has scored just once all season, he is hardly a regular scorer, but then neither are Kante, Matic and Fernandinho. All are midfield anchormen and the criticism of Henderson is perhaps centred on the fact is he does not have the trophies to supplement his seven years in the Liverpool engine room. What is for sure is that a section of fans would be quite happy for him to be replaced this summer by any of his three Premier League counterparts.