Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has hailed the impact Jordan Henderson has had on his short but illustrious career.
The 21-year-old has risen to become one of the very best full-backs in Europe during his two years in the Reds’ first-team, playing an instrumental role in their Champions League and Premier League triumphs.
The youngster believes his club captain Henderson has allowed him to express himself and morph into the player he is.
“Hendo was big,” Alexander-Arnold said in an interview with Red Bull. “I never really had an amazing bond with any of the lads because I’ve always been quiet, but he just made me comfortable being around them type of lads.”
The pair struck up a friendship while out in Russia for the 2018 World Cup – a bond which had an instrumental and long-lasting impact.
“He made me not be afraid to make mistakes, and not feel as though I’m not as talented as the other lads,” added the full-back. “After that I wasn’t overthinking asking for the ball… so I’d take more risks and, by doing that, I became a better player.”
Alexander-Arnold is a Merseyside boy through and through and was snapped up by Liverpool’s academy aged just six.
The England defender believes he owes a lot of the success he has had in football to his two brothers.
“I think me and my brothers definitely hit 10,000 hours [of football]. It was quite unhealthy now that I think about it,” he finished.
“Any type of football game, or any type of weather, at any time of the day, we’d be playing football, the three of us; there was nothing else we did. If it was raining, we’d make goals inside in the hallway, we’d use balls of tin foil, we’d use socks, we’d use literally anything at all to play football.”
“When I first joined Liverpool, I was training, maybe two-three times a week, and then I would play for two teams on a Saturday. I’d play for the Under-7s for my local team and then, straight after that, I’d go and play for Under-8s.
“And then on the Sunday, I’d play in the morning for a different team and then I’d go to the academy and play again there. So I was playing so much football from a young age.”
To find out about how other Red Bull athletes made it to the top, head to the Red Bull Pro hub.