Brendan Rodgers has taken at least all of the credit for Jordan Henderson’s development.
Henderson has won over many of his critics both for Liverpool and England over the past couple of seasons.
The 28-year-old was one of Liverpool’s best players this past season as captain, and has finally carried his form onto the international stage at the World Cup.
Rodgers, who handed Henderson the Anfield captaincy after Steven Gerrard’s departure, has praised his former charge.
The Celtic manager says he persuaded the midfielder to stay in 2015 by anointing him the club’s new leader.
“There was a lot of interest in Jordan so I invited him around and chatted. I said to him, ‘Jordan, you are going to be the next captain of Liverpool’,” Rodgers told the Daily Telegraph.
“That was it from there. We spoke about moving forward. It was a natural move for him as Steven Gerrard was preparing to leave. I knew he would be a captain the club would be proud of.
“It was an emotional meeting. He knew it was an honour to captain a club the size of Liverpool, and knew where he had come from. He has had to work for absolutely everything.
“I always liked Jordan as a guy. He is honest, dedicated and always wants to make himself better. I had already made him vice-captain so he could get a sense of the responsibility of leading, and then when Stevie left Jordan had become such a prominent player he was in position to take over.
“It is important there is synergy between a manager and captain. You have to work well together, and there was always a great relationship there.”
It has become part of Henderson folklore that he was almost sold in 2012, just one year after he arrived from Sunderland.
Rodgers, only recently appointed manager, resisted the temptation and oversaw his initial rise on Merseyside.
“An offer came from Fulham and – like I am with every player – I wanted to be honest,” he added.
“Jordan had done well at Sunderland and been at Liverpool for year but it was more difficult for him and some of those who came in. I could not promise him he would be playing every week, but I could promise we would improve him if he stayed with us. From that conversation he said he wanted to stay and prove he could play regularly for Liverpool. From that moment he was brilliant for me.
“If you remember, before I went to Liverpool he was playing wide in a 4-4-2, and his job was to get crosses into the box.
“When he moved inside he showed his qualities. He developed his game, was always responsive to ideas and made a natural progression to be captain.
“You always knew you were going to get work rate and intensity with Jordan. He could give you good energy in the central area. His running power is a great strength, and when you do not have the ball he has a great hunger to press the game.
“What is often overlooked in the season we narrowly missed out on the title is how much we missed Jordan in the game against Chelsea. He was sent off in the previous match at Anfield against Manchester City in injury time. It was so unfortunate. His physical influence – the pressing he brought to that team – was really missed.”