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Southgate Hails Henderson’s “Leadership” Ahead of England Milestone

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Jordan Henderson is set to earn his 50th England cap against Montenegro.

England Press Conference - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

For Liverpool fans, the only real focus right now is on the club, sitting top of the table over the final international break of the 2018-19 season with seven Premier League games to go and a Champions League quarter final against Porto on the horizon.

For many of the players, though, there is meaning in the current international break and games that matter. Perhaps none more so than Jordan Henderson, who stands to earn his 50th England cap in this evening’s qualifier against Montenegro.

“Only 59 players have achieved it, so it’s a relatively small club and a great honour,” noted England boss Gareth Southgate. “That requires huge commitment to playing for England and then, on a personal level, Jordan’s qualities as a player.

“He’s such an important player for us and has been for the last couple of managers. It’s not just about your own performance, but about the impact and effect you can have on others. When you’re a leader like he is, that is among his top qualities.”

Henderson’s role in the England squad hasn’t always felt secure, and if he doesn’t score this evening he will be the first and only midfielder who has earned 50 caps for his country who will have managed that feat without scoring a single goal.

Still, as with Liverpool it is clear his national team manager values the stability he brings to the side in and out of possession and believes that, with Henderson on the pitch, those around him are more likely to excel, create, and score themselves.

“For me, it’s about winning,” Henderson said when asked about his upcoming 50th cap and having yet to score for England. “It would be nice to score, but I don’t think about scoring, I think about winning. As long as we’re winning, I’m happy.

“It’s definitely not a weight on my shoulders. My role in the last couple of years, I’ve adapted because of my position at Liverpool, more defensive. I probably should have scored one at least, but the most important thing is the team and winning.”