International breaks aren’t good for much of anything, usually, and this one is hardly any different. The first team has broken off for a week of friendly matches in an attempt to get each country mostly fresh for the upcoming World Cup this summer. England has called up three Liverpool players to their senior squad for these friendlies, including captain Jordan Henderson. After a couple injury spells keeping him from other qualifiers and breaks, the England captaincy had been handed to Harry Kane in his stead. Not that that matters to our dear Hendo.
“I always say whether it’s Liverpool or England, it’s not just me who is a leader,” Henderson said in Thursday’s press conference, shortly after being announced as captain for the upcoming friendly against the Netherlands.
“I feel as though the responsibility is shared, which is why the manager decided to share the captaincy out over the last year or so, which I feel again has helped us as a team.
”I feel as though leaders have come out of their shell even more, younger players have come out of the shadows even more and I think that’s really important.
”Obviously the manager is going to announce a captain for the tournament in the summer, but, to be honest, I don’t think that matters too much - because of how close we are as a group and the leaders that I feel have sort of stepped forward now, four or five or even more in the team.
”I think that’s the biggest thing that we’ve got out of the last few months, which I think will put us in good stead going into the tournament in the summer.”
It’s worth pointing out that Henderson was the captain of choice when Gareth Southgate managed the U21s and the two have a good relationship. As such it was speculated pretty heavily that Henderson would further follow in Steven Gerrard’s footsteps and take over the armband for England when Wayne Rooney was dropped, but injuries have kept that from happening fully. Now he’s mostly fit (knock on wood) and looking to make a place for himself before the World Cup - alongside the rest of the squad.
That’s really all he wants. A place to play for his country. The captaincy is more like icing on the cake.
“Whether I’m captain or not, I always like to think that I lead by example anyway. I do the same things as I always do and try to help the group out,” the midfei
”Obviously, I have got a bit of experience now having done it at Liverpool, done it at the U21s and my past clubs as well.
”Of course I have got experience, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am the right person for this team. That’s obviously up to the manager, but no matter what choice he makes I’ll always give 100 per cent to the team on and off the field.”
There’s definitely a lot riding on this England squad - mostly the same lads who crashed out of the Euros two years ago. They go up against the Netherlands and two other Liverpool players, including the Dutch’s own new captain Virgil van Dijk.