Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has revealed how he was spurred on to fight for his place in the side after almost being sold in the summer of 2012.
Henderson, brought in from Sunderland a year earlier, made 37 Premier League appearances in the 2011/12 campaign but found himself close to the exit door following the appointment of Brendan Rodgers as manager in May 2012.
The Northern Irishman was in talks over a swap deal that would see him move to Fulham, with Clint Dempsey coming the other way.
The deal fell through, however, which allowed Henderson to stay and fight for his place in the team and speaking to talkSPORT, the 29-year-old revealed all about the “crucial period” in his career.
“That was a crucial period in my career,” he said. “Not only my Liverpool career but my career in general. I thought that moment was big, and it was a tough moment, but one that I feel helped me, looking back now.
“I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t have that moment. It was tough at the time but thankfully it worked out okay in the end.”
Henderson has gone on to become a Champions League-winning captain under Jurgen Klopp, but he can credit Rodgers for helping him develop such leadership skills, the former Reds boss making him vice-captain in the 2012/13 season.
“It was a huge honour,” Henderson said on wearing the skipper’s armband for the first time in 2015. “Especially at the start until that point it was a whirlwind really, in terms of my progression as a player.
“Obviously [Rodgers] had seen the responsibility and leadership within me and felt I could lead Liverpool, and that gave me a lot of confidence.
“Without Brendan I wouldn’t be where I am today; he’s got a big part to play in my career so far.”
Liverpool have made an excellent start to the current campaign and can move nine points clear at the Premier League’s summit with victory over Manchester City on Sunday.