The midfielder's route to Sunderland first team came via a loan stint at Coventry and a spell on the sidelines with a broken metatarsal.
Eye-catching: Jordan Henderson has enjoyed a sensational season at Sunderland
Since then the roller-coaster has been on an upward trajectory for last season' s young player of the year, marked with a new five-year contract in April.
Henderson, 20, now faces another test of his mettle just a couple of weeks after criticism of his England debut, alongside Steven Gerrard, in the friendly defeat to France.
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is contemplating giving the youngster a break. Henderson may see it as the action of an axeman.
Reality check: Jordan Henderson struggled on his England debut against France
'He's had a wonderful 18 months,' said Bruce after watching his team lose 3-2 at Wolves in a game where Henderson's in-put was distinctly average.
'He has been fantastic but the whole thing with England and the rest of it might have caught up with him. It might be time that the boy needs a rest.'
A boy, perhaps, but Bruce will expect Henderson to take it like a man.
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Explore more:People: Steve Bruce, Steven Gerrard Places: United Kingdom, France