[SPORTS] Henderson and Milner were totally average




Former RB Leipzig manager Ralf Rangnick has hailed Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s ability to transform ‘average’ players into world-beaters – with Jordan Henderson and James Milner the prime examples.
He also pointed to the change in attitude of attacking trio Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, stating that their success as a unit is purely down to Klopp’s influence.
Rangnick, 61, helped Leipzig to promotion to the Bundesliga in 2016 and is now Head of Sport and Soccer Development for all the clubs in the Red Bull Group.
“If you look at Jordan Henderson or James Milner before Klopp they were totally average,” he told the Frankfurter Aligemein.
“The fact that they have now become such players is entirely up to their manager. Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were, until three or four years ago, everything other than typical pressing strikers.
“They just wanted to have the ball and play with it. The fact that they have grown together at Liverpool is all down to Jürgen Klopp.”
The unheralded pair of Henderson and Milner have had their reputations boosted significantly since Klopp took over at Anfield in 2015, though the former in particular still divides opinion among fans.
However, Klopp spoke of his satisfaction at helping Henderson lift the Champions League as captain earlier this year, an achievement he said wouldn’t have been possible without Milner’s presence in the dressing room.
Klopp was recently named Best Men's Coach at the FIFA Football Awards, an accolade few would begrudge him after his work turning liverpool's fortunes around.
Rangnick thinks that he and professional rival Pep Guardiola have been a huge loss to the Bundesliga since they left Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively.
But he now thinks Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann could eventually match Klopp and Guardiola’s ability as a manager.
"Top players are developed by top coaches,” Rangnick added. “And five or six years ago, we still had coaches in the Bundesliga who are now working very successfully abroad.
"The fact that we no longer have such people in the Bundesliga, the pace is a bit more leisurely, the game has slowed down. This has also contributed to the fact that in recent years no world-class player has emerged from the Bundesliga.
"Julian Nagelsmann is the biggest German coaching talent. He is very mature for his age and, if he continues to develop, can be on a par with Klopp and Guardiola.
“Although of course, there is still a conversation to be had about Julian’s fashion sense.”