JORDAN HENDERSON has been forced to rein in his excitement after winning a first major honour in order to focus on helping the national side.
No sooner had the 21-year-old finished parading the Carling Cup around Wembley on Sunday, than his thoughts turned to tonight’s England under-21 match with Belgium.
Henderson, bought by Liverpool in the summer for £16m from Sunderland, left London for Middlesbrough where he captains the young Lions this evening in their crunch Euro 2013 qualifying match.
England hold a four-point lead over Belgium at the top of Group Eight and know victory will put them in a strong position to book at place in Israel next summer.
Henderson has been joined by Liverpool team-mates Martin Kelly and Jonjo Shelvey and is determined to avenge England’s defeat to Belgium in their last match.
“It is a massive game on Wednesday,” said Henderson.
“We have to make sure we do it properly and win the game, which will take us into a really strong position in the group.
“We were unfortunate not to win the last game or at least get something out of it. We played some good stuff at times and created some chances, but it was not our day. You get knocks in football and you have to bounce back and we must do that this week. I am captain of the side and have to go and lead by example.”
Henderson, who hopes to add to his one senior cap, says U21 coach Stuart Pearce left to take temporary charge of the senior side with words of inspiration
“Obviously, everyone wants to play in the senior team,” added Henderson.
“But this is a massive game for the Under-21s.
“I spoke to Stuart when the squad was announced a week ago and he just said, ‘make sure the boys are OK and do it right’.
“He has been a very big influence on my career and helped me in many ways so I cannot thank him enough.”