Henderson says Keane rant at Sunderland kickstarted his career

‘I was sweating, I was only a young lad’: Jordan Henderson recalls Roy Keane’s rant at Sunderland’s academy starlets… but believes dressing down from infamous hothead helped kickstart his career

  • Jordan Henderson believes a fiery rant from Roy Keane kickstarted his career 
  • The current Liverpool captain had been handed his Sunderland debut by Keane 
  • But Henderson was first forced to endure a dressing down from the hardman 
  • Keane was impressed by Henderson’s confidence, according to the England star 

Jordan Henderson has revealed his most memorable dressing down from a manager came from Roy Keane during his fledgling days at Sunderland – but also believes the rant helping kickstart his career.

The typically fiery Keane took charge of the Wearside outfit between 2006 and 2008 in what was his first managerial role, and led the club from the bottom of the Championship and into the Premier League.

Keane is one of English football’s most notorious hardmen and his abrasive nature stretched into his time in the dugout – with Henderson recalling one particular occasion when the Irishman lost his temper.

Jordan Henderson believes his career was kickstarted after an infamous rant from Roy Keane

Keane took charge of Sunderland in 2006 and had given Henderson his first-team debut

Henderson progressed from the academy system at Sunderland to eventually become Liverpool captain, but was forced to endure a full-scale post-match rant from Keane before his major breakthrough. 

He told Rio Ferdinand on The Locker Room: ‘I was in the reserves playing away at [National League side] Gateshead. We had a pretty decent team out in the reserves and we ended up getting beat 2-0.

‘I don’t think Roy went to the game but his coaching staff did, and they rang him and told him what happened. On the coach back we got the shout that we needed to go back to the academy as the gaffer wanted to speak to us.


Henderson progressed through Sunderland’s youth ranks before securing a move to Liverpool

‘As you can imagine, we’ve just been beat 2-0 and we’ve got the gaffer Roy Keane waiting for us to get there.’ 

The 29-year-old admitted that the flashpoint has been seared into his memory, but believes that he also impressed Keane by underlining his first-team credentials.  

Keane later handed Henderson his professional debut after a string of impressive showings for the reserves.

The former Sunderland starlet recalled a post-match rant from Keane after an academy defeat

Henderson added: ‘I can remember it like it was yesterday. Being in the room in like a half-circle and he [Keane] was basically just going through every player.

‘I think he might have watched some of the game back on the video and he went through everyone and I was sweating, I was only a young lad. Sweating front and back thinking “please don’t come to me”.

‘But I remember it well because he did come to me and he sort of just asked us if I thought I was good enough to play in the first team.

Keane was impressed by Henderson’s confidence after the rant, according to the star himself

‘Which I answered yes, instinctively, even though I was sweating and nervous.

‘I think he quite liked that. I didn’t have the best of games to be honest, but you could see from the way I reacted that I was still trying to run about and trying to get back in the game.

‘A few days later he called us into the first team and I made my debut against Ajax so he gave me my opportunity and I probably wouldn’t be where I am today without that really.’  

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