Henderson joined Liverpool from Sunderland in 2011, and was heavily criticised at the beginning of his career at Anfield. However, the midfielder has gone from strength to strength on Merseyside, becoming captain for Jurgen Klopp’s side and leading them to both Premier League and Champions League glory.
Henderson could have made the move to Old Trafford while and Sunderland had Ferguson not listened to the advice of his medical team, who warned the then-United boss that his running style could lead to potential issues.
Ferguson appeared on ‘A Team Talk With Legends’ panel in aid of Sports United Against Dementia and the League Managers Association’s charity In The Game on Friday, alongside England boss Gareth Southgate, Klopp and ex-Reds manager Sir Kenny Dalglish.
Ferguson explained: “We were ready to make a bid for Jordan Henderson at Sunderland. I spoke to Steve Bruce and he loved the guy.
“And then our medical department said they were not happy with his running style – he could be the type to have injuries.
“I must say it was one of my bits of management to make sure the player is always available. If you sign a player and he is not available for you, it is a waste of time so that is the point I have to make about Jordan.
“We loved him as a player and he has proved that now, he has been fantastic and all the stories I am being told, it tells me I missed out on a really good person.”
Dalglish, in his second spell at Liverpool, brought Henderson to the club in 2011 and revealed the key advice he gave to the midfielder early on during his time on Merseyside.
“His service to Liverpool has been phenomenal,” the 69-year-old insisted. “He was a baby when he came, he was only 19. I looked for some players and I went to watch Blackburn vs Sunderland and I wish I stayed at home!
“There was only one person on the pitch looking to make a pass and who made a pass and was thoughtful and decisive. Driving home I said to Steve Clarke he is the only one we’d take from there.
“We set the wheels in motion and he came in and to start with he was very demanding of himself.
“He would wave his arms if he misplaced a pass and I said to him ‘don’t do that, if you do that everyone knows you’ve made a mistake’. It might be a mistake but don’t tell them and take control of yourself and play.
“We told him he could play and he has, and by the way what an outstanding person he is as well as a footballer.
“As soon as it was announced we had problems with Covid, he was straight in there to organise to put money towards, along with the other players, those who are not as fortunate.”
Additional reporting by PA.