It doesn't get better than the World Cup, says Henderson

Wednesday 28 May 2014
Jordan Henderson takes on Jack Wilshere during training
In 2013, a disappointed Jordan Henderson returned from Israel after England’s Under-21s had failed to get out of their group at the European Championship.

Three defeats in three games underlined a poor campaign for the Young Lions and, as captain, the performances hurt Henderson who was coming to the end of his time with the Under-21s.

However, a year on and the midfielder’s season could have hardly gone any better. As a virtual ever-present for Liverpool – he missed only three games due to suspension – he helped Brendan Rodgers side finish second in the Premier League.

Jordan Henderson spoke to the press at St. George's Park


Meanwhile, he also impressed England Manager Roy Hodgson enough to earn a recall to the senior set-up and made his first appearance in 18 months in the November friendly with Chile.

Now the 23-year-old is preparing to board a plane for Brazil, but did he think he’d make it to the World Cup when he arrived back earlier than planned from Israel?

“To be honest, I was more focused on the season with Liverpool at the time,” said Henderson, who joined the Reds from Sunderland back in 2011.

“It was a disappointing tournament for the Under-21s and I was disappointed after, but I quickly shifted my focus on Liverpool.

“I didn’t really think about the World Cup to be honest.”

The UEFA European Under-21s Championship in Israel was Henderson’s third summer away with England. In 2011 he was part of Stuart Pearce’s young team in Denmark and in 2012 was a late call-up to Hodgson’s squad for Euro 2012, after Frank Lampard missed out through injury.

And, he says, the experience of featuring in three Finals tournaments, including two games in Poland and Ukraine, has helped him grow and develop as a player.

“I learned a lot in both,” he said. “Being at the Euros with the senior team and being around and involved with them, coming on and playing some part, I did learn from that experience.

“And being captain of the Under-21s and in a big tournament I learned a lot from that too. There’s no dressing it up, we didn’t do as well as we should have done.”

He added: “In football you have times you’ve got to be strong and keep believing in your own ability, but that’s just part of the game.

“All I tried to do was to get on with it, work hard and I always believed I was good enough to play for England and for Liverpool. Hopefully I can keep working hard, progressing as a player and keep getting better.”

Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson during training at St. George's Park


The former Sunderland man has figured in the last three England games, but was not involved during the qualification campaign for Brazil.

While his season for the Reds was a personal success, becoming a key player in the heart of their midfield, it ended it agony as they missed out on the Premier League title by just two points.

But rather than dwell on what might have been, Henderson is now raring to go this summer with England as he aims to make an impact in Brazil.

“You have to flip your focus to England, what happened last season is gone and you can’t change it. Everyone’s focus is now on England and the World Cup,” he said.

“I was delighted, over the moon to be going to the World Cup. The main thing is I was in the squad. Going to the World Cup, it doesn’t really get much better than that.

“When you come away with England they are all good players so they’ll have a lot of confidence and a lot of belief, whoever plays.

“Confidence is a big part of football. Going into games and into tournaments you’ve got to be confident, especially when you are playing in big games.”

He added: “Everyone wants to start, but not everyone will. So it’s really important that those who don’t are really behind the team and support everyone.”

England meet Peru at Wembley on Friday 30 May - their final game on home soil before the World Cup. The last few tickets remain, so to make sure you don't miss out, click here to buy your tickets online.

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor