Henderson enters the frame for England call

Sunderland midfielder jumps the queue as Capello considers back-up options
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The Independent Online

The Sunderland teenager Jordan Henderson is the latest young player to catch the eye of Fabio Capello's scouting team and is on a long list of players who might yet get a chance in the 3 March friendly against Egypt.

Henderson, 19, has never been capped for the England Under-21s but he has progressed dramatically in the last few months, scoring against Manchester City in Sunderland's 4-3 defeat on Saturday. He can play central midfield and also on the right wing and is thought to be worthy of consideration in the event of injuries to major players in the run-up to the World Cup finals in June.

The overwhelming feeling among Capello and his staff has been that, despite Stuart Pearce's best efforts with the Under-21s, there is not a player from that group who could make a serious impact at the World Cup next summer. The progress of Henderson, who has played 20 times for Sunderland this season, has impressed them and at the very least he should get a call-up to the next Under-21 squad in March for the game against Greece.

Capello gave Tom Huddlestone his debut in the friendly against Brazil in Qatar last month and so far he, Theo Walcott and James Milner have looked like the only players likely to challenge for a place in the senior squad from the Under-21 players who got to the European Championship final in the summer. As for Jack Rodwell, a regular in Everton's midfield until his recent hamstring injury, Capello has shown little interest in calling him up.

The bizarre voting decision of John Terry in the Fifa World Player of the Year ballot was revealed yesterday. Terry, the Chelsea captain, gets a vote by virtue of being captain of his national team and he cast his ballot for Didier Drogba and Michael Ballack for the award, won by Lionel Messi.

The national team captains and managers eligible to vote are not permitted to pick a player from their own country but there are no rules against selecting club team-mates. Drogba was injured last season and also dropped by the then Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari for his woeful performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Ballack was voted for by only eight others in addition to Terry out of 296.

Capello voted for Messi in first place, Fernando Torres in second and the Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in third place. None of the Manchester United participants – Darren Fletcher (Scotland captain), Park Ji-sung (South Korea) and Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria) – voted for club-mates.

*The Sunderland centre-back Michael Turner will serve a four-match ban for his red card against Manchester City after the Football Association dismissed his appeal and added a game to the normal suspension.

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