JORDAN HENDERSON last night completed his long-awaited £16m move to Liverpool and declared: “I can’t wait to get started at Anfield.”
The 20-year-old has put pen to paper on a long-term contract, having agreed personal terms and undergone a medical at Melwood on Wednesday.
The Sunderland man becomes Kenny Dalglish’s first signing of what promises to be a busy summer for the Reds.
Striker David Ngog, who had originally been thought to be a part of the transfer, has been allowed to speak with Sunderland, but his move will not impact on any deal for Henderson.
Henderson is currently in Denmark with England’s Under-21 squad for the European Championships, which begin this weekend, but says he is delighted to have finally sealed his switch to Merseyside.
“I’m over the moon, overjoyed to be here and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “I was flattered to know Liverpool were interested in me and, once I knew, it was a massive decision for me to make but also a massive opportunity.
“Obviously it’s hard to leave your local club. I’m a Sunderland lad, I’ve supported them all my life. But I’m really looking forward to the future now and obviously this is a massive opportunity for me. I’m really excited by it.
“My family are all Sunderland fans as well, and it’s pretty tough because I’ve had some great years there. I’ve been there since I was seven and I’ll definitely miss it but, like I say, I’m looking forward to playing for Liverpool now.”
Henderson’s admits he will have a job on his hands to force his way into Liverpool’s first team, with competition for midfield places already fierce, but says he is looking forward to the challenge of playing alongside, and learning from, the likes of club skipper Steven Gerrard.
“Coming to a massive club like Liverpool, there is always going to be competition,” he said. “Hopefully I can keep working hard, keep improving, and get my chance on the pitch. Steven is one of the best players in the world, you want to be playing with him and training with him to try and improve yourself as a player.
“I’ve trained with him once (for England) and he was unbelievable, to be honest. I’m looking forward to it, and there are other good players here who can help me as well. Steven has been a massive, massive player for Liverpool for years now and he still is. Hopefully I can learn a lot from him.”
The Sunderland- born midfielder, who made his senior England debut last November, revealed he had spoken to manager Kenny Dalglish prior to signing, and says he is excited about the prospect of working under the Scot at Anfield, and is already targeting silverware with his new club.
“Yes, of course (I’m looking forward to it),” he said. “He’s done brilliantly since he came back to the club. He’s done such a good job in such a short space of time. Hopefully he’ll carry on doing that. I’ve already spoken to him and he’s been brilliant with me so far. I’m really looking forward to it. I basically just thanked him for bringing me here. He seemed just as pleased as I was and that’s obviously a good thing!
“There is a lot to achieve. It’s a massive club and we’ve seen over the last few months how good they are. So I’m just coming here to learn and try to improve my game and I’m sure that along the way there will be a lot of happy memories.
“You come to a big club and you want to win things. Liverpool have won a lot in the past and hopefully there is a lot more to come in the future.”
Henderson was a target of both Manchester City and Manchester United, but says he had no doubts that Liverpool was the right club for him.
“Liverpool’s definitely the place to help me come on as a player, and improve me,” he added. “The club’s going in the right direction and it can go as high as it wants.
“I’d like to tell them that I’m over the moon to be here and they will see me giving everything I’ve got in every game I play. Hopefully they’ll enjoy watching me as much as I’ll enjoy playing for this club.”