BRENDAN RODGERS has hailed the attributes of Jordan Henderson and is on a mission to unlock the Liverpool midfielder’s potential this season.
The 22-year-old England international endured a difficult first year at Anfield following his £16million switch from boyhood club Sunderland.
However, Rodgers believes it was always going to take time for Henderson to settle and is convinced he will prove to be a success with the Reds.
“I look at the young kid Jordan Henderson who got a wee bit of stick last year but do you know what, this is a boy who was 21 years of age,” said Rodgers.
“I thought when I first saw him at Sunderland that this kid is going to be a really good player. He’s then coming out here for a bucket-load of money, coming to a massive club and massive expectation.
“He moves away from home, he is on his own and he has to be a world beater straight away. It was never going to happen.
“But this kid can play football. If he is in a certain system – in an environment which is going to help him and educate him in the game – you will see that.”
Henderson, who scored twice in 48 appearances last season, is still on leave following England duty at Euro 2012 but is due to meet up with the Reds squad in Boston on July 23.
Rodgers is looking forward to getting to work with him having received rave reports after the youngster’s application.
“The biggest thing for me that I’ve heard about Jordan is his attitude. He has got an incredible attitude,” he said.
“If you have got a player like that who has got the ability and the thirst to learn – he can run all day, he is physically good, he is strong, he is quick – and you can remodel him, you can end up getting the value you paid for the player.
“But of course last year was difficult for him. I’ve got a number of players like that, who I can hopefully wrench everything out of to get the maximum out of them.”
Rodgers insists all members of the squad he inherited will have the chance to stake a claim in pre-season, including Joe Cole who spent last season on loan at Lille.
“I have worked with Joe in the past. I know his strengths, I know his qualities,” Rodgers added.
“When he first came here, it was difficult.
“He got sent off in his first game, he was injured and it was a bit broken for him.
“But I am assessing everyone.”