Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has hit back at Sir Alex Ferguson after comments made by the former Manchester United manager about midfielder Jordan Henderson in his recently released autobiography.
Ferguson, per the Daily Mail's Dominic King, claimed Henderson's upright running style could cause him injury problems later in his career:
Per King's article, Rodgers refutes the claims and described the comments as "inappropriate":
I have got to be honest, that surprised me about Jordan, coming from someone with that status in the game; someone who has worked with young players and understands the impact words can have on them.
I have to say I thought it was inappropriate. It’s not something that is coming from factual credence. This is a boy who can play two or three games on the spin, one after the other. He is a wonderful athlete. One thing I would say is that, physically, he is an absolute machine.
Jordan is a great kid, a real honest boy who will work and fight to be the best he can be.
Henderson has been an ever-improving player since Rodgers' arrival at Anfield last summer, with the 23-year-old playing 90 minutes in all eight of the club's Premier League games thus far this season.
Able to play in a number of midfield roles, the England international's versatility has been used fully by his manager already this campaign, with Henderson performing admirably on each occasion.
With next summer's World Cup looming large on the horizon, there is certainly no reason why he could not attend should he maintain his current form.
Rodgers' defensiveness is understandable for a number of reasons. Henderson is an important player who he will want to feel has his manager's support, while it is also an easy opportunity to please the club's supporters by answering back to Ferguson's comments.
Surprised Jordan Henderson isn't getting a better shout as a possible World Cup wildcard. He's been in fantastic form this season - so far..— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_SM) October 16, 2013
As a former manager of rivals United, Ferguson is understandably unpopular with the Anfield faithful and will not have endeared himself with the release of his book, which also was less than complimentary about Reds legend Steven Gerrard, per the Daily Mail.
Rodgers claimed Ferguson may have tarnished his reputation by showing a lack of class in retirement:
I think there is sadness to it as this is something that will probably stay with people for a long while. You know, his achievements in the game have been well documented and seen by all.
I think every football person would have enjoyed seeing him going out and leaving the legacy he had done. But now people are only going to talk about his comments in the book.
Both Ferguson and Rodgers are entitled to their views, and the posturing makes for plentiful storylines in the morning papers.
Ultimately, though, it is supporters who will be the judge of the likes of Gerrard and Henderson, with the latter certainly showing this season that he deserves to be regarded as a very good Premier League player.
Only a medical expert will know if Ferguson's concerns are legitimate, but Rodgers would appear to have been advised otherwise.