The Daily Mail football writer Matt Lawton began his report on Jordan Henderson’s call-up to the England squad for Euro 2012 with these words:
Liverpool flop Jordan Henderson has been called up for Euro 2012 after Frank Lampard was ruled out of the tournament.
The midfielder suffered a serious injury when he collapsed clutching his thigh after running to retrieve a ball during training on Wednesday.
England manager Roy Hodgson has already lost Gareth Barry and he has a further concern that Scott Parker is only just back from an achilles problem.
Henderson is not a popular choice with fans after his poor first season since joining Liverpool in a £20million deal from Sunderland last summer.
Now it may be that my confrère Matt is a better judge of players than a man who
* has been acclaimed at virtually every club he has managed
* is considered to have the desired attributes to steer a leading international football squad through a major tournament
It may be that other Fleet Street, TV and radio critics have the edge on Hodgson when it comes to tactical nous.
And it may be that any moment now we’ll see pigs flying past the window.
As I have said at Twitter, Jordan Henderson is the last person to be blamed if his price tage was too high and a crazed Liverpool management was prepared to pay it.
Nor can he be fairly be hammered for taking time to settle at Anfield. I believe the word ”flop” is a gross and insulting exaggeration though I would not argue with more measured criticism of his first season at the club.
When I’ve seen him he has blown hot and cold, doing excellent work one moment, being caught out the next but one.
I still believe he is a gem, as good a prospect as England currently has to offer. And I also feel that until he is shown to be a ”flop” at Euro 2012, he should actually receive some support. As should Roy Hodgson; there is ample time for reflection and harsh appraisal if things go wrong.
As for Chelsea fans said to be offering especially vitriolic thoughts in JH’s direction, I can but reiterate another tweet: if CFC fans hate him, he goes up even higher in my estimation.