‘Prove them wrong!’: Stewart Downing reveals his advice for Jordan Henderson after Liverpool skipper confided in him over his reluctance to leave for Fulham in 2012 – as ex-Reds man compares ‘unbelievable’ Harvey Elliott to a young Raheem Sterling
- Stewart Downing has opened up on a heart-to-heart chat with Jordan Henderson
- Henderson, 31, confided with Downing over a proposed move to Fulham in 2012
- The former Liverpool star told his team-mate to fight for his place at Anfield
- Henderson has captained and lead Liverpool to glory under Jurgen Klopp
- Downing, now 36, also lavished praise on Liverpool youngster Harvey Elliott
Stewart Downing has lifted the lid on a heart-to-heart chat with Jordan Henderson that helped convince the Liverpool captain to fight for his place at Anfield, while the ex-Reds star compared youngster Harvey Elliott to Raheem Sterling.
The Liverpool captain, 31, endured a tricky start to life in Merseyside after joining from Sunderland as a youngster, with former boss Brendan Rodgers open to offloading the misfiring midfielder.
A move to Fulham was on the cards in 2012, with Cottagers star Clint Dempsey set to head up north in place of the Englishman. However, Henderson snubbed the West Londoners to tough it out at Anfield.
Stewart Downing has lifted the lid on the advice he gave to Jordan Henderson in 2012
The Liverpool skipper initially struggled to adapt at Anfield and was set to join Fulham
And Downing, who played alongside Henderson during his early days with the club, has revealed that the Reds skipper sought his team-mate’s counsel on the proposed move to the capital.
‘The transfer deadline was a couple of days away and there had been rumours of Jordan going there with Clint Dempsey coming the other way,’ Downing told The Athletic. ‘Jordan asked me what I thought he should do.
‘I said, “Do you want to go?”. He said, “No”. He told me that he wanted to be able to say one day that he only ever played for Sunderland and Liverpool. He didn’t want to be someone who went to eight or nine clubs in his career.
However, Downing advised Henderson to stay in Liverpool and continue to fight for his place
The 31-year-old has gone onto win the Champions League and Premier League as captain
‘I told him, “Well, there’s your answer. Just tell them you want to stay and fight. The club can’t force you to go somewhere you don’t want to go. So if you want to stay, you stay. Prove them wrong”.
Henderson has gone onto star for Jurgen Klopp’s side, leading the club’s resurgence to the summit of English and European football. The Englishman lifted Liverpool’s first league title in 30 years last summer.
‘I’m so glad he stayed,’ Downing added. ‘He’s had an amazing career at Liverpool. He’s come through a lot. It all started with a really tough first couple of years. I’m sure that made him into the player he is today.’
Downing, now 36, plies his trade with Championship side Blackburn Rovers, and the veteran winger lavished praise on Reds youngster Elliott, who played at Ewood Park on loan last season. Downing compared the 18-year-old to Raheem Sterling.
Downing also heaped praise on Liverpool star Harvey Elliott, who played at Blackburn last year
The 36-year-old compared the teenage talent (right) to former Reds star Raheem Sterling (left)
‘I first saw Harvey when we played Liverpool in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Anfield before the season restarted last June,’ Downing said. ‘I couldn’t believe what I was watching.
‘He was still only 17 but so mature for his age. I remember Raheem at 17. He had so much talent but he didn’t have Harvey’s understanding of the game – his decision making.
‘Getting into the Liverpool team is a big ask. He’s got to knock the likes of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane out the way. He’s a different type of player, as he’s not someone who relies on pace and power. He’s more of an assist maker.
‘He’s certainly got the ability, the confidence and the strength to handle himself at the top level. I’d certainly use him. He’s a great option to have.’
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