Jordan Brian Henderson was born in Sunderland, England, on June 17, 1990. The little Jordan grows up as the son of police detective Brian, a big football fan. The football DNA is passed on from father to son. In his younger years, father Henderson takes his son to Old Trafford to watch the Champions League final between AC Milan and Juventus. I, Rossoneri, where former Ajacied Clarence Seedorf plays 120 minutes, won the match after penalties. On the way home, the 12-year-old Jordan promises his father that one day he will play on a stage that big, too.
Henderson had played in AFC Sunderland's youth academy for five years by then. Despite Jordan being very talented, he has to work hard to turn his words into action. At the end of 2008, a dream came true for the brand-new Ajax player when he debuted in Sunderland’s first team. A few months later, the former Premier League mid-range player decided to develop his talent at Coventry City for six months, which plays in the Championship.
After a short loan spell, Henderson returns to his beloved Sunderland, where he had his breakthrough in the 2009/2010 season. The midfielder plays on the highest level weekly and stands out to former England coach Fabio Capello. Jordan is called up for a match against France on November 17, 2010. He plays the full ninety minutes and puts his name down in English football.
From that moment, things go fast for the talented Henderson. The English top covets him, and he decides to leave Sunderland after 79 official matches. The Brit signs a contract at Liverpool that pays eighteen million euros for the midfielder. When he signed his contract, Henderson chose the iconic shirt number 14, which he kept during his entire Liverpool career.
In Liverpool, Henderson meets a former Ajacied: Luis Suárez. The Uruguayan goal-getter plays a vital role in Jordan’s career. "Luis helped me a lot and grew my confidence as a player. I have a good bond with him on the pitch, but also outside of it", the 33-year-old Brit says a few years later.
In northwest England, he performs at the highest level week after week. On April 23, 2015, Henderson signed a five-year contract. After club legend Steven Gerrard’s departure, he is chosen as the Reds’ new captain. He plays a significant role in the team's rebuilding and sees several stars arrive in Liverpool.
Jürgen Klopp was appointed as Liverpool's new head coach in October 2015. Years later, Henderson says the German caused a shift in mentality with himself and the group. "From the very beginning, he told us, no matter the score, to keep going until the end because you never know what can happen in football."
This statement leads to a nice segue to May 7, 2019, the day of the second Champions League semi-final against FC Barcelona. One week earlier, Liverpool lost 3-0 in Camp Nou, making a place in the final almost impossible. Despite that, Klopp’s team doesn't give up. The English showed perseverance at Anfield and beat the Catalans 4-0, making the final a fact.
Henderson and his teammates face Tottenham Hotspur on June 1. After the lost Champions League final in 2018, the pressure on Liverpool is extra high. Klopp’s star team kept their heads cool and won 0-2 in Estadio Metropolitano. After winning the League Cup in 2012, this is the first big prize for Henderson and Liverpool in a long time. The midfielder lifts the Cup as captain and proceeds to hug his beloved father on the pitch. Years later, he describes the success as the best night of his life.
Footballer of the Year
The 81-time English international, who has participated in six tournaments for the national team, wins the first league title in thirty years with Liverpool the year after. The Reds also crown themselves FIFA Club World Cup winners, and Henderson is chosen as Footballer of the Year in England.
In the 2019/2020 season, when Liverpool become champions, Henderson received the prize of Player of the Season with the Reds. The midfielder has a passing accuracy of 84% in the English Premier League and wins over two-thirds of his defensive duels. In the following season, his passing accuracy (86%) was even higher, and his percentage of won defensive duels stood out: 73%. Up until the moment he left, Henderson's stats in the English competition stayed at the same average.
In the summer of 2023, Jordan, his wife Rebecca, and his children leave Liverpool after twelve seasons to start a new adventure. By then, he has played 492 matches for the English team. The born leader hardly missed any matches, was involved in 94 goals (33 goals, 61 assists), and showed 100 percent dedication all the time.
In fifteen seasons, Henderson plays more than 30.000 minutes in the Premier League while playing at Sunderland (three seasons) and Liverpool (twelve seasons). If we look at his last two seasons at Liverpool, Henderson played exactly one hundred matches in all competitions. He only misses fifteen matches in the 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 seasons. The experienced Brit played over 6.000 minutes and wore the captain's armband almost every match in the last few years.
When he leaves, manager Klopp has praising words for Henderson. "Jordan truly is an all-round player, a really good one. He has both the physical strength and technical skills. Technically, he is outstanding. Sometimes players don’t always show them because they see themselves as warriors on the pitch, but Hendo (Henderson's nickname) has it all."
Henderson moves to the Middle East, to Al-Ettifaq, to be exact. There, he meets a familiar face: Gerrard. The Liverpool icon is the head coach at Jordan's new club. Henderson played nineteen matches in Saudi Arabia, after which he decided to leave. Henderson plays 1528 minutes, in which the 33-year-old midfielder creates 1,41 chances per match. He stood head and shoulders above his teammates.
The English football fanatic chooses a new challenge in Amsterdam and signs a contract that lasts two and a half years.