Sunderland Starlet Jordan Henderson: Should He Stay or Go?

COS contributor Simon Sinclair wonders if leaving the Stadium of Light would benefit the England Under 21 youngster’s career progression or whether he would become lost in the crowd and become a little fish in a big pond.

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This week has seen Sunderland’s promising midfielder Jordan Henderson linked with a sensational £15m move to Man City. Henderson has been a revelation for the Black Cats since breaking into their first team last season when covering for the injured Lee Cattermole.  His form earned him a call up to the England U/21’s for whom he has excelled in the few games he has played, as well as chipping with a vital goal against Romania to seal qualification for U/21 European Championships.

Now he appears to have caught the eye of Roberto Mancini and a possible move to big spending City, a transfer that would appeal to any young player. However, despite the money City could offer would a switch to Eastlands really benefit Henderson? Adam Johnson has proved to be a hit in Manchester and comes from a similar background to Henderson, so if the midfielder was looking at an example of well things can go he should look no further than Johnson.

If Henderson was guaranteed first team football week in, week out it would be a move that he should definitely take. However guaranteed games for young players at big clubs is not always the case. At Sunderland, Henderson would probably be the rock Steve Bruce would build his team around for the next 10-15 years, like Steven Gerrard at Liverpool. At City he would be just another player and may not be considered a standout player at that. If he would struggle to get games behind foreign or older established players such as Gareth Barry, which would hinder his progress what we be the point in moving at all.

Examples of this are Scott Parker’s £10m move to Chelsea from Charlton. At Charlton Parker was the star man, who came through the ranks, like Henderson. His superb form caught the eye of Claudio Ranieri at Chelsea who saw him as a player who could provide competition for Lampard and Makelele in the heart of the midfield. Unfortunately for Parker, Lampard and Makelele’s form never really dipped and meant he was unable to seize any opportunity to make his mark at Chelsea. He made 28 appearances in two years before moving to Newcastle in 2005. His progress was hindered during that time and he only got that form back when he moved to West Ham in 2007 where he has been their only real shining light in recent times.

If this rumoured move does occur and if the speculated prices are correct it would be a good move for Sunderland, who would be making a £15m profit on a product of their youth system and would be able to find a decent a replacement with that sort of money. City would also be getting a good deal, for a future England International if his current form is anything to go by. But would Henderson be getting a good deal? If he can 30+ games a season, yes he would be, but if he were to warm the bench he would be letting his outstanding potential go to waste.

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