Jordan Henderson believes enacting the spirit and lyrics of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' as best we can represents the 'perfect opportunity' to support one another during the coronavirus outbreak.
In an interview with Liverpoolfc.com via video link, the Liverpool captain admitted he misses being able to play football due to the current suspension, but stressed there are far more important matters out there in the world at the moment.
Henderson also detailed how the Reds squad have been keeping in contact during this period and the steps taken to ensure they will be ready, physically, to return to action when safe to do so.
Watch our exclusive chat with the skipper in the video below, or read on for a full transcript...
It's a slightly unusual way for us to do this interview, but it's quite an unusual time for everybody all across the world at the moment. How challenging has this been for you? Not just as a footballer but as a dad and a husband...
Yeah, it has been different, it has been challenging at times, especially when you've got three kids running around the house! But at the same time I feel as though I'm in a luxury position if you like, in terms of I've got a garden, a nice house that the kids can go and run around and play in, go in the garden and play. I understand a lot of people might not have that luxury. I'm surrounded, obviously, by my wife and kids, so it makes it a lot easier. But there's people out there who are a lot worse off who are suffering more than I am and my thoughts really just go out to them. It sort of puts everything into perspective a little bit.
The footballer's psyche is always about if you suffer a defeat, it's all about the next game. But that's been the perspective that we've all had, whatever job we're doing at the moment, that there are bigger things and bigger forces at play at the moment...
Football isn't even in the thought at the minute. Of course myself and other players will be wanting to get back as soon as possible and be chomping at the bit to go and play football. But at the same time, you understand that there's bigger problems and bigger things going on in the world. We just need to do our best to support our families, stay safe and just keep listening to what the authorities are telling us. And hopefully this period can finish sooner rather than later and everybody can start some normality off again sooner rather than later.
What has this period been like for you as a footballer?
It's a totally different test. My biggest downs in my career up until this point were obviously injury, I would say. That was the hardest thing for me to deal with personally, but this is a different challenge. The time that I've spent with my family and my kids over the last couple of weeks is something that I've never been able to do before, so I'm just trying to take a lot of the positive things around it. I've really enjoyed being with the kids every day, helping them with their school work and things that I wouldn't normally do. I've just tried to do it as much as I can and enjoy it. But when it is 24/7 it can be challenging at times as everybody will know! But I've just tried to enjoy this period that we're going to get. I know it will be for a long period, of course, but just stay positive and try to enjoy it as much as I can because I've never really had a block of time like this to be with the kids and my wife for a long time.
Have you got newfound respect for teachers and the job they do each day? What are you like as a dad that's home-schooling at the moment?
I have been helping them with that. To be honest, I've enjoyed doing that. That's something I've never really done apart from the homework when they're coming home from school and you're helping them with that. But to do it every day in the morning and help them with certain things, I've quite enjoyed that. Like I said, you don't get opportunities to do that often, so I'm trying to make the most of it.
You've had to be creative with the training, so how are you finding that? I imagine it's a bit different when you're training on your own...
A little bit different! We've been given some programmes and stuff by the club, of course, and things that we need to do. But I suppose it's like the off-season in that sense – just [be] given a programme, follow that over the holidays. But with us having a newborn, I haven't really had a set time every day, I've just been doing it off the cuff. Whenever I get a period of time in the day, I go out and do my work that I need to do. So far, I feel as though I've been keeping in decent-enough shape.
The squad is a very close-knit unit and you'll be having to use WhatsApp groups and that kind of thing. How active are those at the moment?
We've got a big WhatsApp group and things are getting fired in quite often, so everybody's sort of staying in contact and chucking different videos in and different challenges that we can do. There has been a lot of contact with the lads because normally we're spending every day together and travelling together and all sorts of stuff. To not see each other for a long period of time is strange, especially at this time of the season. But at the same time, when we have the off-season, again, it's pretty similar to that. It's just the time that we're at and the stage that we're at in the season that it is a little bit different. Now we're in the house and you can't really do anything else, it is a bit strange.
Are you mindful that you have to stay in touch with some of the younger players to keep their spirits up in what is a very challenging time?
I think it is important to stay in touch with people, especially the lads. Some people cope differently to others. Some of the lads are on their own who I've spoken to, which must be really difficult. Most of the lads have family and kids and stuff, which will make it easier – maybe a little bit more difficult at times! But overall a lot easier when you've got family around you and people around you. But when you're on your own it must be so difficult, so I've touched base with those lads and they seem OK but it's only been a couple of weeks and we've probably got a few more months to go at least.
We forget sometimes how young these lads are. We look at them as top-end Premier League, European footballers, but some of them are very young lads who are away from home and away from their families...
Again, especially when you're from a different country. You might feel alone but the lads and the people at the club will make sure that they feel supported in everything that they do and the programmes and stuff. I think we're going to do stuff as a group as well. I think that will start to happen a little bit more often where we're doing maybe sessions together like on FaceTime or different apps that you can use so everybody is doing it together. I think that will start from this point going forward just to try to keep everybody in touch. It helps support the players that are finding it a little more difficult on their own.
It's made everybody united in the world with the challenge that's going on. We've seen the great human side come out with the likes of foodbank donations and that kind of thing. You know about this group of lads and how this will bring the best out of them as human beings...
Definitely. It's an important time for everybody to come together – not just our club but everybody in the country and in the world. It's important that everybody comes together and we try to just listen to the advice that we've been given to make sure that this virus sort of goes away sooner rather than later and everybody can get back to some sort of normality soon. It's a time to come together and help each other. I'm sure there's other ways of doing that, especially supporting the NHS and the work that they're doing – you can see how much support they're getting from the whole country, so that's really important as well. But for us as players, [I'm] thinking of different things that we can do all the time. I'm sure the lads will help, which we have already with the foodbanks, but if there's anything else then I'm sure the lads will be on board to do so.
Let's talk a little bit about football because it's probably never too far from your mind either. Has this been a period where you've found it difficult to think about football?
Listen, we miss football. I love football so much, that's why we do it. You want to go out training every day, you want to play football every day. So to have that taken away so suddenly is difficult. But this period, I'm sure at the end of it it'll make people appreciate things a lot more and not take stuff for granted as much. There's definitely a period to learn and to take things from, and at the end of it I think we'll be a lot better off. But at the same time, I understand there's a lot of people going through pain and suffering – and our thoughts obviously go out to them. But all we can do is just keep listening to what we've been told. And like I say, hopefully this doesn't last too long. But in the meantime, we've just got to stay positive, try to help each other and stay together, which I've seen a lot, to be fair, on social media. [There's been] a lot of support – especially to the NHS and rightly so for the work they're doing, which is the most important thing. Football is so small in this situation, so we've got to sort this situation out first and then whenever that is, we can start talking about football and looking forward.
The football will resume at some point. The great thing that there's been about this group of players is focus. Whatever challenge has been put in your way, you've always met that head-on...
It is important. This is why we keep doing the work that we've been given, keep doing the training stuff because there will come a time – whenever that is – that we need to go back and start training and play games pretty quickly. I'm sure all the lads are doing the stuff to keep ticking over for when we are ready to go back in when it's safe for us to do so and we can start the Premier League again – that's all we can do really.
Do you have a message for the fans? They're aware of what's going on in the world, but they're really missing their team...
We're missing them too, that's for sure! I would just say stay safe, of course, stay inside and keep listening to all the advice that the government and the authorities have given us. If we do that, this will sort of pass quicker than we hope. But just try to stay positive. It's a perfect sort of chance to use our song that we sing every game in terms of You'll Never Walk Alone – it's the perfect opportunity for that. I've seen stuff on social media where the nurses were singing along to it, but stuff like that is really powerful. This is the time where it's not just words, you've got to use it as best we can as people and as human beings. But just listen to the authorities, do your bit, do what you can and hopefully this will go sooner rather than later and everybody can get back to some sort of normality and look forward to what the future holds.