Jordan Henderson, despite his compelling presence on the field and his importance in both, the English as well as the Liverpool squad, has been in the spotlight multiple times, for reasons that haven’t been honourable, so to speak.
And once again, Henderson’s name has appeared in a fresh controversy that seems to have taken place just before the match that booted England out of the World Cup.
In fact, Henderson’s self-assurance seemed to shine during the pre-match warm-up session and before the teams took their positions in the tunnels to come out for the line-up, as he blocked out distractions.
The subject of controversy right now is whether Henderson believed that Kylian Mbappe too, was a distraction he had to ignore, in the tunnel.
A video made the rounds on Twitter showing Henderson refusing to acknowledge Kylian Mbappe’s existence altogether, as the French superstar extends a hand in his general direction.
Many fans were quick to offer their sarcasm-laden ironic condolences to supporters of Henderson’s Premier League side, Liverpool, saying that Henderson’s move might just mean that Mbappe might reject them in the future.
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that the irony arises because Liverpool have pursued the PSG striker for a while now. Mbappe put an end to further speculation in November after he extended his contract with the Ligue 1 side.
That said, was Henderson’s act a blatant shootdown of Mbappe’s offer of a civil handshake?
Or is there more to it?
Well, if you observe closely, in the video, you can see that just as Mbappe extends his hand out toward Henderson, a child takes a step behind the English midfielder.
As is the tendency of modern media, they snatched up the opportunity to publicize an apparent rift or a controversial snub by Henderson. The TV camera angle also didn’t help their case.
Whereas the reality is that Mbappe was merely extending his hand toward the lucky child that would get to stand with Henderson during the line-up, as a friendly tease to the child enjoying a piece of chocolate.
When the child hides behind Henderson, Mbappe even turns away chuckling to himself before going on to redirect his focus to the game at hand.
In fact, the PSG striker’s gesture was not intended toward the Liverpool midfielder at all.
The appreciable fact throughout the rest of the evening was the immense mutual respect that subsisted on the field, despite heightened emotions and a clear desperation to win.
And Jordan Henderson, despite his many flaws, certainly did not intend to reduce Mbappe to a rejected handshake.