Henderson eager to prove he's not a one-cap wonder

 

Jordan Henderson's one England cap serves as a warning to the young players recently called into Fabio Capello's squad, but he has no regrets over his international debut almost a year ago.

Henderson is currently in the club nobody wants to be part of, joining the likes of Michael Ricketts, Francis Jeffers and David Nugent as winners of one cap at international level.

The Liverpool midfield player is determined to add to his one appearance, against France last season at Wembley, where Yoann Gourcuff and Mathieu Valbuena ensured the friendly passed him by, with the latter scoring the decisive goal.

This time it is Spain facing Capello's team in a mid-season friendly and the recent Under-21 graduates Jack Rodwell, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge are looking to make an impression.

Henderson will be in the crowd today with the rest of the Under-21 squad.

"I would never think that my debut came too soon," the 21-year-old said yesterday. "Maybe I didn't perform on the night as well as I would have liked. But I've analysed the performance and after that game it was done. I moved on but you never forget your first cap. It was a brilliant experience and I loved every minute of it. I would never regret going. It was a massive experience and taught me a lot."

Henderson has only praise for his Under-21 team-mates who have moved up to the full England squad. "I'm over the moon for the lads that have gone up," he said. "A few of them are regulars now and deserve it. Jack's just gone up with Studge and both deserve to be there and I wish them all the best. For me, I believe in myself and have confidence.

"One day I know I will be given the opportunity and I need to take it. I need to keep making my expectations high."

Since that England debut, Henderson moved from Sunderland to Liverpool for £20m and played in the European Under-21 Championship.

He struggled in Denmark as Stuart Pearce's side were knocked out at the group stages, but his display in the 5-0 win over Iceland on Thursday, when he was captain, showed the box-to-box performances he is capable of.

"This year has gone pretty quick," he said. "It's probably because so much has happened. I'd love to play for the seniors again soon. I think I need to stamp my authority on Liverpool first, get a regular place, start playing well and playing games. When I come to the Under-21s I need to show I'm 100 per cent at it all the time and lead by example. Hopefully, I'll get that call-up."

Henderson feels he is learning from the midfield players at Anfield. He added: "It's a big challenge at Liverpool but one I'm relishing. I have confidence and self-belief. There are a lot of great midfielders there but we all help each other and learn from each other. I'm happy there at the minute."

Henderson is also competing for place in Pearce's Team GB squad for next year's Olympic Games, and hopes players from the other home nations will be available.

"We have to make sure we are playing well for England first but I'm sure everyone would love to play in the Olympics team and anyone picked will be grateful to be in that team," he said. "But that is not up to me. If it's not to be, it's not."

Meanwhile, Pearce has warned there can be no complacency after the win over Iceland in the qualifier for the 2013 European Under-21 Championship.

"I am not an individual who does complacency particularly well, so I don't think we will have that in the squad," the former England captain said.

"Whether we are good enough to win the next game or the one after, I have no idea.

"But the one thing we are not is a complacent outfit who sit back on our laurels and to think one, two or three victories are enough.

"There are bigger challenges to come. This is my fourth campaign and I am acutely aware of what it will take. You look at the tables from around Europe and Germany have five victories out of five, Italy have won four from four, and France have a 100 per cent record," he pointed out.

"That tells me when you get out of here into the play-offs, you are going to come up against a real tough opposition, then when you get to the finals, it will be even tougher. We cannot afford complacency."

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