Liverpool hand Henderson captaincy as Sterling returns to training

AFP , Friday 10 Jul 2015

Jordan Henderson celebrates after scoring the first goal for Liverpool (Photo: Reuters)

Jordan Henderson has been named as Liverpool's new captain, replacing the departed Steven Gerrard, the Premier League club announced Friday, while Raheem Sterling has returned to training.

Former Sunderland midfielder Henderson has long been tipped for the captain's armband permanently since Gerrard announced that he was joining MLS side LA Galaxy.

"I'm absolutely delighted and proud. It is a great honour and a huge privilege to be named as the captain of this football club," Henderson told the club's official website.

"When Steven wasn't in the team last season, I tried to do the best I could when I stepped in and took the armband. Now I'll be looking to carry that on and continue to grow as a captain.

"I'll look to give my best all of the time, put the team firmly first and try to give them -- or help them with -- whatever they need from me," added Henderson.

The 25-year-old has been a key figure, making nearly 200 appearances for the Merseysiders since joining for £16 million (22.2m euros, $24.8m) four years ago.

The England international captained the side on occasion when Gerrard was unavailable last season.

Meanwhile, Sterling has returned to training after a two-day hiatus as speculation increases about the winger's future.

The England winger is believed to have called in sick and allegedly told the club earlier this week that he didn't want to go on their pre-season tour of Asia and Australia.

The 20-year-old is wanted by Premier League rivals Manchester City who have had two bids for Sterling turned down.

The Etihad outfit have bid £30 million and £40 million for Sterling, but Liverpool value the forward at closer to £50 million.

Manager Brendan Rodgers's relationship with Sterling appears to have strained since the player turned down a lucrative new contract worth £100,000 per week in January this year.

Former captain Gerrard, who's set to make his debut for LA Galaxy this weekend, has criticised Sterling over the ongoing dispute.

"I'm not happy with all that carry-on. He needs to go in and see the owners. You don't have to throw in illness, or refuse to go on tour," Gerrard told British broadcaster Sky Sports.

"There are millions of Liverpool fans waiting to see Raheem pull on a Liverpool shirt.

"It looks very disappointing from where I'm sat. The fans have shown him great support, they want him to stay and I believe that he should too." added Gerrard, who made nearly 700 appearances for Liverpool before his departure at the end of last season.

"It's very difficult for me to sit here and support him and the team around him...what they're trying to do with his career at a young age.

"It'll be a terrible shame if he goes somewhere and doesn't kick on as a player.

"It's slightly disappointing how far the situation has gone - but the only way I can see for him is out at the moment."

Liverpool are expected to depart for their pre-season tour on Sunday with their first game against a Thai All Stars XI in Bangkok next Tuesday.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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