Empoli midfielder Liam Henderson sat down with Serie A ahead of Matchday 14 to speak about his football experiences in Italy, Scottish footballers in the league, and the tough challenge of remaining in the Italian top flight.
Italian Football Experience
Liam Henderson is a true high-lander – no Scottish player has spent longer in Italian football than this midfielder. After spells at Bari, Verona and Lecce, he has become indispensable for Empoli: the 26-year-old has missed only one game since August 2021.
“I think my four, nearly five, years in Italy I have improved an extreme amount since I first arrived. I try to work hard every single day, keep myself fit, try to live good off the pitch, and yeah, give every time I come on the pitch 100%, and I think the coaches here appreciate that. I like everything about Italy. The people are very friendly, very kind. The food is really good, the weather is good. I drink more espresso coffee, I don’t drink cappuccino after lunch time, stuff like this. So, it’s good, it’s good, I take a little bit of the Italian life and put it into mine.”
Scottish Footballers in Serie A
Long gone are the eras of Tartan legends Joe Jordan at Milan and Graeme Souness at Sampdoria. Henderson is the eldest of a new generation of Scottish footballers plying their trade in Serie A. Alongside Empoli’s versatile number 8, you can count Bologna midfielder Lewis Ferguson and Verona’s left-back, Josh Doig.
“When I came to Italy I thought it was important to give Scotland a good name, and I think I did that. It just shows that Italian clubs are looking at Scotland more and more, because they can get very good players for not too much money. So it’s been good. The boys who have came, Doig, Ferguson, have started very well for their clubs. Before they came I wrote them a little message asking if they needed anything, advice, anything like this, to just give me a call. But they seem to have settled in very well, which is good.”
Serie A Survival
“I think that’s always the goal at the beginning of the season, to stay in Serie A. If you look at clubs like Sassuolo who managed to stay in Serie A, and now they’ve been in Serie A for ten years, I think, that’s something we should strive to get. And yeah, it’s important. To survive in Serie A takes a lot of heart, a lot of good play, and a lot of dedication. So it’s something we are working on every single day.”