World Cup 2018: Jordan Henderson says Leicester City story can inspire outsiders England to glory in Russia

Gareth Southgate’s side will travel to Russia as outsiders having underwhelmed in their previous two tournament appearances

Mark Critchley@mjcritchley
Tuesday 05 June 2018 18:49
comments
Jordan Henderson believes England should set no limit to their expectations in Russia
Jordan Henderson believes England should set no limit to their expectations in Russia

Jordan Henderson believes England should not put any limit on their aspirations at this summer’s World Cup, claiming that Leicester City’s remarkable Premier League title in 2016 proves anything is possible.

Gareth Southgate’s side will travel to Russia as outsiders having underwhelmed in their previous two tournament appearances, exiting at the group phase in 2014 and being eliminated by Iceland at the European Championships two years later.

Harry Kane, the England captain, has however claimed that he and his team-mates are capable of winning the competition and believes that anything less should be regarded as “not good enough”.

Henderson, who rivalled Kane to wear the armband in Russia this summer, thinks his captain’s attitude is the right one, even if merely reaching the quarter-finals would be regarded as progress.

“I feel like it’s hard to say what is a success because what has happened in the past,” the Liverpool skipper said. “In the tournaments I’ve been to, we haven’t achieved anything really, to be honest.

“Maybe the first Euros I played in [2012] when we beat Sweden, got Italy and got knocked out on penalties but apart from that, we didn’t get out of the group in the 2014 World Cup and got beat by Iceland.

“So other people will say: ‘What is a success in the World Cup?’ But as a player and as a group of players, why would you want to put a limit on what is success or not? You’ve got to go in with the mentality that we can go all the way because we are good enough as a team. And I think that is the right attitude to have.”

Most bookmakers price England’s chances of leaving Russia victorious at 16/1 – significantly shorter than the 5,000/1 quoted on Leicester winning the Premier League title at the start of the 2015-16 season.

Henderson thinks England can take inspiration from that triumph and other great sporting upsets in order to end their country’s 52-year-long wait for success at international level.

“There have been a lot of upsets in sport – no disrespect but look at when Leicester won the Premier League, not a lot of the people at the start of the season would have said they could have done that,” he said.

“And that is just one instance, really. You have got to have belief in the group all the time and believe you can reach the heights.”


Henderson captained England during the victory over the Netherlands in March and was in contention to take the armband on a full-time basis in Russia, having successfully led Liverpool to this year’s Champions League final.

Southgate, however, ultimately ended his policy of rotating the captaincy by opting for Kane. Henderson backed his manager’s decision at St George’s Park on Thursday, though he believes the squad is one full of leaders.

“The manager rang me on the Tuesday in the week leading up to the final. I wasn’t thinking about it because of the final and that is where my focus was,” he said. “When the gaffer told me I was really pleased for Harry and he is a fantastic player.

“It was normal for me, I just got on with it. Whether or not I am captain doesn’t matter, there are plenty of other leaders, Gareth is big on that and we don’t want to put too much pressure on Harry. That is important for Harry and for the group.”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments