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Steven Gerrard says Jordan Henderson is continuing to improve as a player and feels the Liverpool captain should be afforded more respect.
Henderson struggled in his first season following his £16m move from Sunderland in 2011, and is often singled out for criticism by Liverpool fans even now for his often off-radar distribution, but Gerrard feels the criticism of his successor as Liverpool captain is unfair.
"I think criticism happens a lot in football, I’ve had it myself," Gerrard said.
"People have got to judge Jordan Henderson for Jordan Henderson.
"What does he give to the team, what does he give to his team-mates around him? I know this kid and he has come out of Sunderland and has gone to a big club.
“He didn’t get off to the best of starts – he knows that himself – but he has worked tremendously hard to improve in every single department.
“He really cares. He goes home and tries everything he can to be the best at what he does so he should be judged on what he brings to the team."
LA Galaxy midfielder Gerrard, who left Liverpool in the summer of 2014 after a 16-year senior career at Anfield but is out of contract with the MLS club in November, says Henderson is ideally suited to manager Jurgen Klopp's pressing game at Liverpool.
“He has shown bits of quality in games this season – especially in the win at Chelsea. The way he presses, the work rate, the high intensity. He is prepared to do the dirty work," the former England captain continued.
“Then there is his passing which is excellent and look at that goal at Stamford Bridge. If any other player had scored that goal the world would have gone nuts. That’s the goal of the season for me so far.”
Gerrard also dropped a hint that he may return to play for an English club if the MLS do not renew his contract next month.
"I'm wondering whether I should play on for a little bit longer or whether I should call it a day. I haven't 100% decided on that yet," the 36-year-old told Radio City Talk.
"I still enjoy playing. I still love coming into training, I still love competing, so if I can carry on and there are opportunities to stay here, or go somewhere else for another six months or 12 months, then I'll consider it.
"I'm going to be a long-time retired and so I still want to enjoy things while I'm still feeling good."
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