Damien Comolli talking about the signing of Jordan Henderson at ProZone’s Science + Football Conference. (x)
First of all, with Jordan, all the scouts were in agreement. So, I think the success, nowadays for a successful recruitment setup is the data, the scouting and the coaching together to be aligned – if the data says, he’s really poor, the scouting can tell us his attitude, and then you need the coaching and the manager to be onside. If you bring a player to the club and the coach is not with you, the player will not be successful. So you need those three together. And with Jordan, the scouts were, all of us were very positive about him, Kenny was very positive with bringing him in and working with him et cetera, and then his data was very, very good.
People afterward were telling me you were looking at the wrong set of data for Jordan. I said why? He was producing, he was creating chances for fun. Physically, he was an absolute beast. Fantastic attitude and mentality which means he’s a hard worker, he’s gonna improve. So for me with those three together, it was a no brainer plus his age. (Can you remember specifics of the physical data?) He was I think well over 1,500 metre high intensity runs per game. And on a regular basis he was around 13km, which is outstanding. A top Premier League midfielder ran about 12.7km to 13.5km per game with 1500-1800m high intensity – and Jordan was hitting that already. And what we needed at the time in midfield was legs, we lacked power, intensity, pace, we lacked size, we lacked the creativity, the chances created he was doing at Sunderland.
And now people are saying, he’s the most improved player in the Premier League in the last ten years.. I say it’s rubbish. I read a book called ‘the Portability of Talent’ – with Jordan, his portability from the North-East to the North-West took time. What we are seeing now, is Jordan Henderson. He hasn’t improved 100%, or 50%, he is Jordan Henderson. It’s just that mentally, psychologically to adapt and take what he was doing at Sunderland and do it at Liverpool.