Jordan Henderson has compared his managers for club and country, Jurgen Klopp and Gareth Southgate, ahead of England’s World Cup semi-final.
Henderson is preparing to feature for the Three Lions against Croatia on Wednesday night, as he looks to extend his record for the longest run without defeat of any England player in history.
The midfielder’s four outings so far in Russia have seen him establish himself as a contender for the Team of the Tournament, providing consistency at the base of the midfield.
His performances arguably characterise the approach Southgate has taken better than any player, with his selflessness and work ethic representative of the team effort on which England have thrived.
According to Henderson, this stems from a similar approach taken to Klopp at Liverpool, as he told reporters in preparation for the semi-final:
“One of the biggest things that the gaffer wanted to bring when he came in [was] to have an identity of the team and how we wanted to play.
“That was an open conversation from early on in terms of how the players wanted to play and how he wanted to play.
“We were on the same hymn sheet from the off. He’s really helped bring that identity out in us as a team.
“It’s important everyone knows their roles individually and collectively as a group.
“He’s obviously done that very well and the lads have bought into that. But we have to continue that.
“I’m fortunate enough to have that at Liverpool with Jurgen, who for me is one of the best managers in the world.
“He’s helped me progress as player and I’ve tried to bring that here.
“And since the gaffer has taken over with England, he’s been outstanding and he’s brought a togetherness and identity to the group and I think that’s huge.”
Southgate’s blend of passion and sensitivity have made him a firm favourite among England supporters as belief mounts over a successful World Cup bid.
The Three Lions are just two games away from lifting the trophy for the first time since 1966, and as vice-captain Henderson will take a central role if they do so.
There were concerns over his hamstring heading into this week’s clash with Croatia, but Henderson insists “it doesn’t feel too bad, so hopefully it’ll be fine.”
While his popularity on the Kop is not unanimous, that the 28-year-old has been such a reliable figure for both Klopp and Southgate is unavoidable.
The benefits of working under Klopp at Liverpool are clear, as they have magnified his team-first attitude and allowed him to lead by example.