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Damien Comolli: 'I was led to believe I was sacked because we signed Jordan Henderson'

Liverpool bought the Sunderland youngster for £20million.

Jordan Henderson's move to Liverpool raised eyebrows at the time.
Jordan Henderson's move to Liverpool raised eyebrows at the time.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

Updated at 16.47

DAMIEN COMOLLI HAS suggested that the signing of Jordan Henderson was ultimately to blame for his sacking by Liverpool as Director of Football.

Speaking at the 2014 Web Summit in Dublin today, Comolli — who has overseen a number of high-profile purchases working with Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham (among others), from the good (Luis Suarez) to the bad (Andy Carroll) — highlighted Henderson in particular as a fascinating case.

“When we signed Jordan Henderson, he got so much criticism, I got so much criticism,” Comolli said.

“I was never told why I was sacked but I was led to believe it was because we signed Jordan Henderson, and the owners were convinced he was not good enough.”

Comolli revealed that Henderson’s creativity, in particular, was what drew him to the player as a youngster at Sunderland.

“Looking at Jordan Henderson, we wanted legs, we wanted physicality, we wanted pace and creativity in the final third. I was able to benchmark Jordan against the top midfield players in the Premier League, taking his age into consideration, taking the transfer fee into consideration, and in my position, you need to look at age, money and the player’s ability.

“Looking at all this, what he was doing for his age, and all due respect to Sunderland, he was definitely undervalued by the market. And I’ve been told we overvalued him. Even directors at Sunderland later said ‘you didn’t know what you were doing’.

“Jordan stood out at the time, when he was 20, because of the number of chances he created in the final third. He was very good at it. When you look at chances created in the final third in open play, you are the best player finishing in the top 5-10 [in the Premier League] every year.

“So when I saw Jordan in that area, I thought he’s definitely got something. Because when I was looking at it five years back, Henry, Lampard and Fabregas were there, so when he was there, I thought definitely he’s got something. It can’t be a coincidence, and now look at him.”

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Comolli also defended his overseeing of Liverpool’s acquisition of Andy Carroll for £35million, pointing out that they earned a large proportion of his transfer fee back, while the deal also coincided with the purchase of Luis Suarez, who turned out to be a great success at the club.

“We sold two players, we bought two players. We were fitter, younger, and we still had value. Because I told the owners we still have value, if it goes wrong with Andy Carroll, we’ve overpaid by 15million. They got 20million back and they got incredible value on Suarez, not only by the money from Barcelona but him taking them on his own to the Champions League.”

Additional reporting by Steven O’Rourke

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