Jordan Henderson admits news of the long-term deals for Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold was greeted with delight inside the dressing room – and the captain believes the pair have the potential to be mainstays in Liverpool’s line-up for the next decade.
The full-backs both inked fresh contracts with the Reds earlier this month having established themselves as key players in Jürgen Klopp’s squad over the past 18 months.
And Henderson elected to use his column in the official matchday programme for tonight’s game with Leicester City to highlight just how significant the deals are for the club and, indeed, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold.
He wrote: “Andrew Robertson is an inspiration to any professional at any level of the game. I’m biased, obviously, but I think he is arguably one of the best full-backs anywhere in Europe at the moment. He has to be that good to stay in the team here, because Alberto Moreno is international quality and unbelievably good as well.
“When Andy signed for us in the summer of 2017 I remember the gaffer saying that people should look at his pathway to understand what he’s like as a player and person. Nothing was straightforward for him; he had a lot of rejections and setbacks. But he kept getting back on his feet and driving forward.
“Even when he came to Liverpool he was still young and it was seen as being a big ‘step up’ for him – and I know as well as anyone how challenging that is. I don’t think it’s fair to say he ‘struggled’ initially because that doesn’t take into account just how well Albie was playing for the team. Robbo himself is always quick to acknowledge that.
“It was never that he had to prove himself good enough. But when you have someone of Albie’s quality, playing the way he was, it means you’ve got no choice but to be patient. The key in those moments is to be ready if and when the moment comes – and credit to Robbo, he was.
“I know our supporters absolutely buzz off him and rightly so, but he’s just as respected in our dressing room for how he conducts himself. He never allowed the need to be patient for his chance to impact how he was around Melwood. It sticks in the throat as an Englishman to say this, but Scotland have won the lottery as well having him as their skipper – it was a brilliant choice from them.
“We were all chuffed to hear he’d been rewarded with a new deal and I’m sure for Robbo this is still the start of what he’s looking to achieve, not the end.”
Fewer than 48 hours on from the announcement Robertson had committed his long-term future to Liverpool, the club confirmed Alexander-Arnold had followed suit by putting pen to paper on a new contract.
Henderson continued: “Trent’s story is very different to Robbo’s and in some ways is similar to mine. Coming through a brilliant academy system for his hometown club, being elevated to the first team at a young age and taking the chance. Of course, Trent is doing it at Liverpool and I know that brings added pressure because of the spotlight and scrutiny here.
“I’ve got to know Trent really well in the past 18 months and I’m proud to say he’s a very close friend now. I don’t think people outside know the real Trent, but a lot of that is down to how he is and how he presents himself on a professional level. He’s unbelievably respectful and polite with everyone and when it comes to his football he is very serious. He isn’t someone who will push himself to the front of things and I think sometimes the fact he’s reserved and low-key means people on the outside don’t see his real personality.
“He is incredibly dedicated to football and to Liverpool in particular. He has a huge hunger to learn and learn from everyone within our squad. His ability to absorb setbacks and not be negatively affected by them is incredible and I think that will be one of his biggest assets as his career goes on.
“Watching him develop from the shy kid that first came up to Melwood to train with us to a regular in the first team – and one of the best full-backs around – has been something really special for me.
“I was delighted for him and his family when I saw the news he’d agreed a new deal and I have to say it was a great decision. As players, hearing this kind of news in the dressing room gives us a buzz, too.
“For both Robbo and Trent it’s been business as usual and I know signing a new contract won’t change for even one second how they are. The positive thing for Liverpool is that the club has tied down and given security and assurance to two players who have potential to be playing here for a decade.”
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