FROM Wearside to Rio – the man who put former Black Cats star Jordan Henderson on the road to soccer stardom today told of his pride.
The 23-year-old, from East Herrington, was named as part of Roy Hodgson’s 23-man World Cup squad earlier this week as preparations for the feast of football begin in earnest.
It is set to be one of the highlights of the former Farringdon Community Sports College pupil’s burgeoning career, following a season where he narrowly missed out on winning the Premier League title with Liverpool.
Jordan’s PE teacher at Farringdon Community Academy Dave Robinson, who coached him for the school team, today told of his pride at seeing his former pupil named in the Three Lions squad for the world’s most prestigious soccer tournament.
Mr Robinson, who still teaches at the school, said: “It’s fantastic news for a fantastic lad and great for our school too.
“When he signed for Liverpool in 2011 we were all saying how amazing it was that just three or four years before he was playing on the school pitches here at Farringdon.
“But he deserves it. He’s such a likeable lad and his attitude was superb growing up.”
After signing up with SAFC’s Academy aged just eight, Jordan rose through the ranks to become a regular at the Stadium of Light.
His determination to succeed was there for all to see according to his teachers.
“I remember coming back from one game, some of the lads wanted kebabs and chips, but Jordan just wanted a salad sandwich,” said Mr Robinson.
“That shows how dedicated he was and he still doesn’t drink either.
“He was prepared to make the massive sacrifices which you have to make if you want to be a professional footballer.”
Jordan is sure to face stiff competition to get into the starting XI in Brazil, with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Adam Lallana to contend with for a midfield spot.
But his energetic style will surely be called on in the heat of South America.
“I think he’ll start the games,” added Mr Robinson. “He’s the type of player the will need over there and it’ll be great to watch him.” England’s first game of the tournament is against Italy on Saturday, June 14, with kick-off at 11pm.
They then face Uruguay before taking on Costa Rica as they bid to progress to the knockout stages and win the tournament for the first time since 1966.