Jordan Henderson saved from embarrassment after terrible 'no-look pass' during Slovenia vs England

Henderson had Joe Hart to thank after he pased the ball straight to Slovenia forward Josep Illicic

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The Independent Football

Jordan Henderson’s first match as England captain will be forever remembered as the moment he attempted the showboat ‘no-look pass’, and failed miserably.

The Liverpool skipper was handed the armband following caretaker manager Gareth Southgate’s decision to drop Wayne Rooney to the substitutes’ bench, with the Manchester United forward suffering intense criticism in recent months for his form.

Henderson stepped up to lead the side against Slovenia in the 2018 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night in a move which appeared to end Gary Cahill’s tenure as vice-captain, although the 26-year-old was unable to maintain England’s 17-match winning streak in qualifiers as the Three Lions laboured to a 0-0 draw – and were lucky to escape with that.

However, despite impressing as England’s best player in the victory over Malta last Saturday, Henderson nearly cost his side the match with one moment of complacency.

Made famous by former Brazil and Barcelona great Ronaldinho – and replicated recently by Arsenal’s Mesut Özil – Henderson attempted the ‘no-look pass’ during the second half of the match in Ljubljana, with the midfielder looking forwards at Andros Townsend but playing the ball backwards to Gary Cahill.

Pulled off, the move can make a player look like a footballing God, but Henderson was anything but a God on Tuesday. Underhitting the pass in his own half under pressure from a fired up Slovenian side, Henderson succeeded only in passing the ball to Josep Illicic, who poked it past Cahill and took aim on the England goal.

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Luckily for Henderson, England goalkeeper Joe Hart was in inspired form in what he described as his best performance for his country “for a while”, and the on-loan Torino star made one of a number of impressive saves that bailed his stand-in captain out of an embarrassing debut as skipper.