Henderson wants his first England goal… but winning is top priority

Henderson wants his first England goal… but winning is top priority


It was one of those moments in an interview when the interviewee suddenly felt compelled to ask a question of his own ‘The volley?’ Jordan Henderson asked with a raised eyebrow. ‘You thought I snatched at it? I thought I hit it quite well…’Liverpool’s captain was being quizzed about his England goal return and an incident in Saturday’s 4-0 drubbing of Bulgaria was used an example, when his shot crashed into a red shirt and bounced out of play; nine years and 52 caps since making his debut, the wait to break his duck continues There was a brief moment of silence after Henderson had turned the tables on his inquisitor but any suggestion he had taken umbrage was dispelled when he erupted with laughter Once order was restored, though, the midfielder began to address the statistical anomaly Henderson, in his youth, was always a player who could deliver a goal and he scored four in his time with the Under-21s  He has been proficient for Liverpool, too, so could it be that a game at St Mary’s – where his last club strike came in April – sees the international drought end?’Goals are something I can improve on,’ said Henderson ‘A lot of games (for England) I have played as a (defensive number) six, so that comes in to play But I’ve had opportunities and I probably should have scored more than I have for sure ‘It’s something I need to improve on if I’m going to play in that more advanced role But I think about my role in the team and if everyone else is scoring and we are winning, then I’m happy I just concentrate on winning.’That may be so but every young boy who dreamed about playing for England also dreamed about scoring for England A tell-tale smile lit up Henderson’s face as the conversation continued, a sure sign that he wants to deliver ‘I’m keeping it for a big occasion,’ he said. ‘I’ve probably had some chances and, of course, it will be nice to score I don’t score but we win then I’m happy. If we win every game and I don’t score for the rest of my career, I’d be more than happy But… yes… it would be nice to score at some point!’The priority on Tuesday evening is to get through what could be the most tricky game in Group A with another three points that will put England on the cusp of reaching Euro 2020, a tournament that is conjuring such enthusiasm and hope When he walked around the pitch on Saturday after being substituted, Henderson took a minute to appreciate the ovation he received from the West Stand and the connection that exists between this squad and the public, a bond the 29-year-old feels has strengthened since the World Cup As a 12-year-old, Henderson was a ball-boy at the Stadium of Light when England beat Turkey in April 2003 and remembers the noise and the emotion of a crowd firmly behind the national team The more England win, the stronger the bond will be.’I wasn’t thinking about the team,’ he said ‘I was thinking: ‘There’s Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, David Beckham…’ It was exciting to see them live, so close to the edge of the pitch the atmosphere was bouncing as well I’m sure here at St Mary’s it won’t be too dissimilar.”We have to keep exciting them, we have to keep winning games If we do that, everyone will be right behind us. We are in a really good place, you know? But we still have to keep improving and working hard to get to where we want to be ‘

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