JORDAN HENDERSON could end up with a statue outside Anfield for his Liverpool achievements, according to former mentor Roy Hodgson.
And the Crystal Palace boss, who has fond memories of their time together with England, will vote for the Liverpool captain in tomorrow night’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.
Hendo, 30, has been nominated after guiding Jurgen Klopp’s men to a first Premier League title, the season after also lifting the Champions League.
Hodgson, 73, showed faith in him at the Euro 2012 and 2016 finals plus the ill-fated 2014 World Cup campaign and has been impressed by his development.
The Eagles chief said: “I’d certainly support his candidacy for SPOTY.
“I tend always to vote for football people because that’s my world and I know the people in football.
“I’m pleased he’s nominated and I wish him all the best for that.
“He’s an exceptional player, one who works very hard at his game and one who has got consistently better.
“In 2012, when he’d just moved to Liverpool, we took him for his first England trip in the Euros to the Ukraine.
“He was a very different player to the one he is today. He’s worked so hard on his game to become the lead figure at that club. He works hard technically and tactically.
“A lot of things in his life will be of a very high standard in terms of his satisfaction.
“To lead Liverpool to their first trophy after so many years, and to do it in such spectacular fashion, that’s already guaranteed his statue outside Anfield one day.”
Hodgson plans to congratulate Klopp at Selhurst Park today for winning the Best Fifa Men’s Coach award.
He said: “He’s obviously very good as a man-manager because you see the relationship he has with his players.
“It’s a very warm and friendly relationship, despite the fact I’m sure he’s always challenging them and pushing them in training.
“He doesn’t get success by being their friend, he gets success by being a top class coach, but he is able to also show those human qualities to make the players feel like they want to play for him.”
Palace will be missing Belgian striker Christian Benteke, who was sent off against West Ham in midweek.
He was shown yellow cards for two identical offences, catching Hammers players with his trailing arm as he went up for headers.
Hodgson has been unhappy with changes to the handball, offside and jumping rules this season and how those are interpreted by top-flight referees.
He added: “I don’t know how an honest decision like that by Benteke can be punished in the way it was.
“If I did speak to (referees’ chief) Mike Riley, I think I’d find a lot of sympathy for my statements.
“These things distress and dismay me as they aren’t making the spectacle of football any better.
“They’re starting to create a divide between players and coaches who have been involved in football a long time.
“We don’t understand any need to change rules which have served the game so well for so long.”