Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has put himself in contention for an OBE or MBE, says Stan Collymore, with the England international’s efforts on and off the field proving that “heroes come in all forms”.
The 29-year-old midfielder has seen his performances for the Reds in 2019-20 earn plenty of praise, with many suggesting that he is a Player of the Year contender.
Henderson has already got his hands on UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup crowns this season, with the hope being that a first Premier League title will follow shortly.
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Football is, however, currently shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. That is preventing Henderson and co from taking to the pitch, but headlines are still being made by leading performers in the English top-flight.
Liverpool’s skipper has put together the Players Together campaign which will be generating important funds to support the NHS – with those efforts silencing those who had been quick to criticise professional footballers over their lack of assistance – and Collymore believes Henderson has proved himself to be just as iconic as the likes of Steven Gerrard and Kenny Dalglish.
The former Reds striker told The Mirror: “When the New Year gongs are announced we should be hearing Jordan Henderson OBE or MBE – simple as that.
“The conscience he has shown football these past couple of weeks is more important than any trophy he will ever lift for Liverpool. Henderson has been the driving force behind the Players Together campaign and no one should underestimate the work he will have had to put in.
“A few might say, ‘What are you talking about, Stan? It will only have meant him calling a few of his mates.’ Yes, he’ll have had a couple of numbers through England, but even in the best of times, getting hold of the rest of them wouldn’t have been easy – and in a lockdown it will have been even harder.
“Don’t underestimate either how much work will have had to go into having chats with everyone and working out with 19 other fellas the mechanics of what you need to do and the right vehicle for the support you want to give. That isn’t easy at all.
“Then you have to make sure the money gets to the right places – the NHS and other community initiatives set up to help people during the coronavirus pandemic – and again it’s not something that’s straightforward.
“The way Jordan has conducted himself has been exemplary.”
Collymore added on Henderson, who has not always received the recognition his efforts deserve across a nine-year spell on Merseyside: “Four or five years ago, many – myself included – questioned what he brought to the team... but we know now what it is.
“He isn’t a great orator like Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard and maybe doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve as they did.
“He certainly doesn’t have the bells and whistles of a Dalglish and he might not have a stand named after him in years to come, but heroes come in all forms and Liverpool fans remember theirs.
“Henderson will go down as the quiet man who got things done – both on the pitch and off it.”