GUARDIAN – Barcelona pair the benchmarks for studious Jordan Henderson

Self-improvement is a key theme for the Liverpool midfielder as he hooks up with England after a chastening season at AnfieldJordan Henderson will wait until just after the England squad dinner on Saturday night before peeling away from the throng, all bound for one of the big-screened communal rooms at their disposal, and heading instead back to his room. Like most of the players in Roy Hodgson’s party at their Dublin hotel, the Liverpool midfielder will spend his evening entranced by the Champions League final in Berlin although, judging by his pre-match thrill, he may do so with notebook in hand. A collision between Barcelona and Juventus provides lavish entertainment. For Henderson, it will also be an education.A campaign that began with Hodgson handing out homework to those in the national set-up will end with one of the key members of the side soaking up events at the distant Olympic Stadium. Henderson is well versed in the phenomenal work rate put in by Luis Suárez, a former club-mate, amid the most mouth-watering front three in world football. He gawped again at that industry first-hand when watching from the stands at the Etihad Stadium as Barça triumphed over Manchester City in February. Yet drawing his attention in Germany will be the role played by Ivan Rakitic, perhaps an overlooked talent, and the Catalan club’s midfield in granting that attacking trio the licence to run riot. Continue reading…