Originally Posted by Paully D
I'm surprised to hear that he's been better in the centre of midfield, I've always thought he performed better for us on the right hand side of midfied (as did the majority of Sunderland fans) but in fairness I suppose Bruce, Capello and Dalglish know a slight bit more than myself and other Sunderland fans
I could definitely seen him learning a lot from Gerrard. There's no better player to learn from in that CM role to be honest. To put it into context though, at the same age as Henderson, Gerrard had played over 120 games for Liverpool in all competitions scoring 15 goals (from my quick calculations, could be slightly more or less) and he had played . Madness really, just proves how good Gerrard was/is.
Can you see Henderson developing into a player good enough to play week in, week out for you based on his ability rather than say, the price that was paid for him?
EDIT - Just seen the last question I posed already answered by a few in previous posts.
If our aim is to get back into the top 4 and stay there, then that'll mean a of a lot of extra matches. Very few top teams have a set starting XI, so I would see Henderson's future as a squad player - I don't mean backup I mean squad player, like rotated. You can't go in with 2/3 starting mids and hope for mediocre/youth players to do the filling in.
So yes I would reckon Henderson has a future at the club, but I don't know if he will ever be a 'star' in the team. That said if he improves as much between now and 24/25 as Lucas has I may change my tune!
What do I think of Henderson so far? Well, I'll be honest I probably would've preferred if we had hung on to Meireles given the fees involved. At first I thought he was very very poor and didn't see much in him. But he's progressed, and like many have said he is far better in the CM role than out wide. He's got great work rate and stamina, a good one touch, and has shown the odd glimpse of impressive vision and good through balls. I expect this to improve with experience.
I feel there's a lot of areas he can improve on though:
Mentally: It's been mentioned here before, but Henderson has a tendency to go hiding when he's not having a good game. He needs to improve his 'moral courage' as Giles would term it - if things aren't going his way he'd rather not make more mistakes and thus appears anonymous or takes the easy option. This is something Lucas was guilty of at the same age and has improved immensely at the last few years.
Physically: This probably comes under mentally too in some ways. I feel he is still a bit weak in the tackle, and this is a mixture of a lack of bravery and a physical weakness also. He might fill out a bit and hopefully become a greater force off the ball. He covers a lot of ground but I don't think he's the best at winning 50/50s or making a strong clean tackle. Nowhere near the league of Lucas for example (although I know they're different players).
Technically: Has a decent cross, hopefully he can improve further on this. I'm not sure how good his shooting is - I don't know if he offers much of a shot from range, which is not essential but is a nice bonus to have from your centre-mid. He's only got one goal in 26. It's not a terrible stat, no one has been banging them in for us this year, but ultimately as a CM usually playing in a slightly more advanced role and with the odd appearance out wide, you would be expecting more goals in the future if he is to become a top midfielder.
Positionally/tactically: I expect Henderson to improve here as I suppose this is arguably where you improve most with top level experience. Going back to the goals point, I would like to see him getting into the box more and getting on the end of things ala Gerrard/Lampard in their prime. Not sure if it's tactical instructions that see him hang back, or that he's hiding slightly or just doesn't see the opportunities, but centre-mids these days score goals and often get into the box to do so. I don't see Henderson doing this all that often.
If he can improve on all these things he'll be a top player. I'm not trying to be harsh, it's true he's only 21 and we only have to look at Lucas at 21 to see how much you can improve in the next 3 years.
Ultimately my prediction is that he won't become World Class; he'll be a pretty important player for us and will be in the England set up but not a regular starter in which I imagine Wilshere will be the standout young English midfielder of his generation