• Premier League

Rodgers keeps Henderson in Reds plans

ESPN staff
October 31, 2012
Jordan Henderson has not been a regular starter this season © Getty Images

Jordan Henderson does have a long-term future at Liverpool despite losing a regular starting spot, according to manager Brendan Rodgers.

The midfielder started 31 of the club's 38 Premier League games under Kenny Dalglish last season, but has yet to start any under Rodgers.

His appearance from the bench during Sunday's 2-2 draw at Everton was only his third league appearance of the season, as he has been largely restricted to playing in cup competitions.

The 22-year-old has also stepped back from the England senior squad, for whom he featured at Euro 2012, into the Under-21 side, who he captained earlier this month to a two-legged play-off victory over Serbia, which secured qualification for next summer's European Championships in Israel.

Henderson has struggled for consistency since his £16 million move from Sunderland in June 2011, but Rodgers is sure he will come good.

"Jordan's a wonderful talent and he's got a great future here," said Rodgers. "OK, he may not be playing as much as he has done, but his appetite and application and his willingness to learn and improve have really been fantastic.

"He and the other guys on the outside are not happy that they're not playing. But their attitude and desire to work hard have been incredible. We're a very tight group and that's important."

Rodgers also hopes midfielder Joe Allen will get a good reception from Swansea's fans when he faces his former club in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.

Allen, a product of the youth system at Swansea, followed Rodgers from the Liberty Stadium to Anfield in the summer in a £15 million transfer.

There was a degree of controversy around the move at the time, as Swansea claimed that Liverpool had pledged not to try signing any of their players during his first 12 months at Anfield.

But a clause in Allen's Swansea contract allowed him to move to Liverpool if a £15 million asking price was met.

"I think Joe will get a very good reception," Rodgers said. "He's a kid who has come through the system there. He gave everything to the club in his time.

"OK, the supporters are probably disappointed that he went. But he's actually given them £15 million plus a lot more over his time there, and I think the supporters will respect that. He's a wonderful talent and he was brilliant, certainly in the two years I was there. I think they'll react accordingly."

The Liverpool manager asserts that his good relationship with Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins allowed the deal to happen.

He added: "I think it proved how strong our relationship was that I was able to speak with Huw and ask if there was a market for Joe, then I would like to be kept in the loop on that and he came back and told me that there was a possibility of him being sold.

"I've got great admiration for Huw and our relationship is still strong. He's a good man. We became close both professionally and personally there. And we didn't always agree. We would differ in terms of our opinions on certain things, but it was always for the benefit of the football club, and Huw and I recognised that.

"I always like to leave on good terms. Leaving there was sad, but I knew I was coming to one of the biggest clubs in the world. So that relationship has been retained."

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Pepe Reina and full-back Glen Johnson will sit out the cup tie against Swansea. Reina is not yet fully over a hamstring problem, while Johnson is suffering with a knock picked up during the Europa League victory over Anzhi Makhachkala last Thursday.

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