Liverpool: Henderson signing led to sacking; former star slams coaches; Wisdom explains loan switch
On the day that Jordan Henderson made his debut as England captain, former Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli told TalkSPORT that the signing of the former Sunderland player for £16 million in 2011 was one of the main reasons for his sacking. The Liverpool Echo report that he claimed:
The day I got sacked they told me I had made a big mistake on Jordan and he was a waste of money. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but I think we paid the right price. He was a young English, British player and we know very often that British players are overvalued. But we were more than happy to pay the price because we thought he would become an outstanding player. I never said it publicly, but I was convinced he would be the future captain… I was totally convinced, as was Kenny (Dalglish), that we were doing the right thing for the club.
He fitted the profile we were looking for. We knew he was an outstanding person, we knew he had leadership skills, we knew he was totally dedicated to football, to his passion, and we knew he was someone who wanted to improve on a day to day basis. We knew his physical abilities – his fitness stats were absolutely unbelievable. We were looking at statistics and we were going through a lot of midfield players in the Premier League and what amazed me and caught my eye was his ability to create quality chances.
The £16 million signing of Henderson was one of many of Comolli’s deals to come in for criticism as the £35 million signing of Andy Carroll, £22 million paid for Stewart Downing and £7 million spent on Charlie Adam were also considered failures. Whilst Comolli did a good deal with Henderson, it would be naive to blame his sacking on that deal alone, rather than many of the other disastrous deals that he completed whilst at the club.
Another former player has also been critical of the club as the Mirror report on an interview given to the Spanish press by Dutch winger Ryan Babel, now at Deportivo La Coruna, where he claims he was badly treated by Rafa Benitez and his coaching team, saying:
I think I was badly coached. Neither the coach nor the coaching staff advised me well. I was 20 years old went I went to the Premier League. When you are 20, you need help from other people, you need people to talk to you. But when I went over there, nobody helped me. I was alone, and that’s difficult for any young player.”
The highly rated Dutch winger was signed in 2007 for £11.5 million in Ajax, and although he went on to score 22 goals in 146 appearances for the club, he failed to progress to reach his full potential and has since had a disappointing career with stops in Germany, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and now Spain.
One player who could also be criticised for failing to reach his potential is current right-back and central defender Andre Wisdom, currently out on loan at Red Bull Salzburg. With no European football it was clear that his first team chances with the Reds would be limited after a mixed spell on loan at relegated Norwich last season, and he told the Set Pieces that his motivation behind the move was to experience another culture, saying:
People think ‘Oh, the Austrian league’, the quality is not going to be there or I’m not going to improve. But I’ve come here, I’ve seen the quality and I know what the league is about. It’s a good opportunity to learn a different culture and a different style of play.
Wisdom, now aged 23, may find that he will have to impress in Salzburg with a renewed contract at Anfield unlikely, meaning that he will be looking for a club in the summer with his current deal set to expire. With ten England under 21 caps to his name, Wisdom has the potential, but it may take regular first team football in Austria to put that on display.
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