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'That's it, game over' - Liverpool captain Henderson reveals how bad traffic nearly cost him Premier League debut

18:40 GMT 30/12/2020
Jordan Henderson Liverpool 2020-21
The Reds captain almost earned the wrath of Roy Keane while at Sunderland, but was bailed out by team-mate David Meyler

Jordan Henderson has revealed that he nearly missed his Premier League debut, which would have earned him the wrath of his then-manager Roy Keane in the process.

At the time, the now-Liverpool captain was an up-and-comer at Sunderland having spent a decade in the club's academy.

In November 2008, Henderson was handed a Premier League debut with Keane selecting the young midfielder to enter in the second half of a 5-0 loss at Chelsea.

The Liverpool star has revealed that he nearly missed that match due to traffic, with team-mate David Meyler proving the hero that spared Henderson from finding himself on Keane's bad side.

"We used to fly from Newcastle airport, so you were allowed to drive to the airport," Henderson explained on the Premier League's YouTube channel.

"This time, David was driving me, we hit traffic and were running late. Now running late is a no-go in football anyway. but with Roy running late means the plane is taking off and you’re not getting on. That’s it, game over.

"Thanks to him [Meyler] we managed to get there and I managed to make my debut. Otherwise, I might not have got on!

"I can remember being 3-0 down at half-time and the gaffer telling us to get warmed up, that I’m going on in the second half. I just couldn’t wait to get on the pitch."

The midfielder's Premier League debut didn't exactly go to plan as Sunderland were battered by Chelsea - and that wasn't the only low point caused by the Blues during Henderson's spell on Wearside.

Henderson and Sunderland were also beaten 7-2 by Chelsea in 2010, with the Liverpool captain revealing that Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack taught him a real lesson on the day.

"Before the game, the gaffer [Steve Bruce] brought us into the showers and gave us a little pep talk," Henderson said. "You [Meyler] had Frank Lampard and I had Michael Ballack. It didn’t go down as well as we planned but we tried our best. It wasn't our finest moment for sure!"

Henderson has since established himself as a trophy-winning captain at Liverpool, having led the club to a Champions League title and a long-awaited Premier League triumph. The Reds currently sit atop the Premier League as they face off with Newcastle on Wednesday.