• Premier League

Henderson: Sir Alex criticism didn't bother me

ESPN staff
March 15, 2014
Jordan Henderson says Sir Alex Ferguson hasn't apologised to him © Getty Images

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has told the Daily Mail he was never fazed by Sir Alex Ferguson's criticism of him and considers the former Manchester United manager a "legend".

Ferguson, who retired after 26 years at Old Trafford at the end of last season, claimed in his autobiography that he was dissuaded from signing Henderson because of his belief that the player's running style would cause him injury problems in the future.

Henderson endured a slow start to his Anfield career after joining from Sunderland for £20 million three years ago, but has become a key player for Brendan Rodgers this season, with second-placed Liverpool challenging for their first league title since 1990 and set to end their four-year exile from the Champions League.

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Having revealed that Ferguson hasn't said sorry over the comments, Henderson insists he has no problem with him.

"He hasn't [apologised]," says Henderson. "But then I don't think he needs to.

"He deserves a lot of respect for the things he's achieved in football. He is a real legend in football. I've got a lot of respect for him. Obviously our manager has got to protect his players and I appreciated what he said at the time. But I can just leave it there.

"Really, it wasn't a big deal for me. It really didn't seem that bad, saying my running style wasn't great. It didn't bother me.

"Obviously someone at the club has said that at the time. I don't think he would have just made that up. Someone must have given him some information.

"But no one has ever really said anything to me about my running style. Like you say, a lot of athletes will work on things like their running style to make sure it's correct. But it's just natural with me, and it's worked so far. Touch wood."

Henderson says he owes his recent progress not just to Rodgers but to Dr Steve Peters, the sports psychiatrist Roy Hodgson has enlisted to help England's players at the World Cup.

"I've worked with him [Peters] for a year-and-a-half now," says Henderson.

"The manager introduced him to the players, and he was there for anybody to go and see him if they wanted to do that.

"I felt as though I may as well try it, maximise my performance and improve. Whether that's on the training ground or as a person, I felt if it was going to help my career.

"Steve has been very good. He works with certain individuals and he basically maximises your performance mentality. You've got to make sure you're in the best shape you can be physically; going into the gym, training your hardest, stuff like that.

"But I don't think a lot of work gets done mentally. I think that's often taken for granted. I think you can improve and there is stuff you can do to train your mind, develop a mindset and improve."

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